Many studies have shown that COVID-19 death rate is higher in places with poor air quality. The unfortunate reality of health disparities in overlooked neighborhoods across the country is what inspired Darren Riley and his team to start Rapids Air Quality this year, because the ability to safely breathe the air in our communities is a basic human right. We sat down with Darren to talk more about the company & what the future may look like for Rapids Air Quality.
Where did your idea and value proposition start?
Rapids Air Quality was inspired by the unfortunate reality of health disparities caused by air pollution in overlooked neighborhoods. It is known that harmful air pollutants can increase hospital visits, sick days at work, and school absenteeism. More so, recent studies have shown that COVID-19’s death rate is higher in places with poor air quality. The ability to safely breathe the air in our communities is a basic human right. It’s imperative that we take action to improve the quality of life in our local communities through a localized data-driven approach.
We started Rapids Air Quality due to the fact that today’s cities (and local neighborhoods) are not equipped with the proper tools and insights needed to effectively take action on air pollution issues. Air monitoring solutions today are sufficient for providing a general sense of a city’s air quality (at a macro level). However, to deploy local targeted solutions to improve air quality, communities require a source for more localized air quality data that brings greater visibility at a micro (community) level.
How has your business grown since the beginning?
We officially launched at the beginning of this year. So far, we have secured an initial monitoring partnership with the City of Grand Rapids’ Downtown Development Authority, for which we will deploy and manage air quality sensors and provide data reports.
What growth do you expect to see in the next few years?
Our immediate goal is to expand our pilot to fully deploy in Grand Rapids and continue to leverage our outcomes to expand our monitoring to other cities in Michigan and beyond. In the next few years, we aim to explore and deepen our traction in other market segments for air quality monitoring, from housing to health system solutions.