The in Pittsburgh has announced the creation of the , a multimillion-dollar research, public awareness, and action campaign that aims to raise the air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania from the ranks of among the worst in the country to the best.
To date, forty nonprofit and for-profit groups, including , the (GASP), and the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the have signed on to participate in the project. In coming weeks, key members of the coalition will participate in a public convening to set goals and develop a process for implementing solutions and measure improvement in the region's air quality. To that end, many activities are already in process, including a $1.1 billion pollution-control upgrade at U.S. Steel's Clairton operations, a collaboration between the endowments and the to install bike racks on all buses in the fleet, and the City of Pittsburgh's new , which sets forth target dates for conversion of city-owned diesel-powered vehicles and the adoption of standards for best available retrofit technology for city-owned equipment.
In addition to monitoring ongoing activities, the coalition will sponsor education efforts designed to inspire others to take action, including reaching out through traditional and new media such as TV, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
"The Breathe Project Coalition is a breath of fresh air for people, the environment, and the economy," said Heinz Endowments president Robert Vagt. "We expect both the numbers of organizations and individuals joining the coalition...to increase significantly as word spreads."