Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has announced that it is to launch a study investigating the impact of air pollution from the airport on surrounding neighbourhoods.
It will investigate the areas of Westchester, El Segundo, Inglewood and Lennox - all of which immediately surround the airport - and analyse how much of the air pollution present there is created by the airport.
Researchers will begin by creating a list of potential air pollution sources. They will then analyse the nature of emissions at LAX and the surrounding areas, and compare their findings with the list to map the precise type of air pollutants at the airport and in the surrounding areas, and where they originate from.
"Comprehensive" Air Quality Study
Previous surveys into air pollution from airports have been carried out at other major US airports including Chicago, but Los Angeles World Airports - LAX's operating company - claimed this would be "the most comprehensive air quality study" that has ever been undertaken at a US airport.
Environmental lobby groups in LAX's local community, who have been vocal critics of LAX's expansion down the years, warmly welcomed the decision to launch the study.
Denny Schneider from the LAX Community Noise Roundtable described it as a "trailblazing" move. He said: "It's critical to understand that what they're doing is useful for not only this airport, but for all airports. The United States has been delinquent in assessing how to reduce the impact of environmental pollution from airports".
Mary Rubin, director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, added: "I'm a bit proud that Los Angeles is taking leadership in this. In many studies around the country, they have missed the mark".
Announcing the iniative, LAX commission president Alan Rothenberg explained: "It's an incredibly complex issue to find out what pollutants come from what sources, but the attempt to seriously measure it is commendable. And I hope that we can show the way to airports everywhere and other public entities that are faced with situations where pollutants are from multiple sources".
The results of the study could be used to help shape future governmental, federal and state policies, he added.