By Jason KUROSU
Clark Magnet High School was the beneficiary of yet another Lexus Eco Challenge win last week as a team of eight students, the self-proclaimed Carbonators, won a $10,000 prize for their research on the negative effects of ozone smog in Los Angeles County. Clark Magnet students previously won the Lexus Eco Challenge, a nationwide project for raising student interest in environmental affairs, with their studies of pollutants threatening the local lobster population.
Clark was one of only two schools in the country to win last year and two of the students involved in that win are part of the Carbonators. Dominique Evans-Bye, Marine Science teacher at Clark, showed pride for her students’ multiple wins.
“They’ve certainly done a great job,” Evans-Bye said.
The Carbonators’ research showed that already notorious smog levels in Los Angeles County are still high. The team looked at data of smog levels from 1999 and compared that with Environmental Protection Agency data from sampling stations throughout the state. They then created maps from this data on ArcGIS, spatial analysis software that creates maps based on statistical data. The data, displayed through ArcGIS, showed that San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties had high levels of ozone smog.
The Carbonators also looked for potential solar energy possibilities in those areas with the highest levels of smog, exploring where the best places to install solar panels might be.
The next step for the Carbonators is to compete for the Eco Challenge’s $30,000 grand prize. To do this, they will expand their research outside of Los Angeles County.
“Now they have to take their research to a global scale,” said Evans-Bye. “They’ve already mapped out ozone smog levels in Europe through data collected on the Internet.”
They would also like to collect data on smog in Asia.
“We’re looking at places with high populations, industrialized countries,” said Evans-Bye.
The deadline for the grand prize is in late February.