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Public Lab Research note


How to Use Your Bucket Data

by A_SCH , kgradow1 | November 09, 2020 07:19 09 Nov 07:19 | #24964 | #24964

Co-authored by: Bongani Mthembu and Desmond D'Sa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Rico Euripidou, Avena Jacklin, and Bobby Peek, groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa



Bobby Peek describes the importance of having reliable information during early campaigning efforts


Use your bucket data to build campaigns

Having data that you can control is vital when trying to create change. Whether information about pollutants is being withheld, inaccurate, or just not there, you need proof that there is an issue in order to demand action. Without this proof, campaigns can be discredited or pushed aside for making unwarranted claims. Having access to data also helps mobilize communities, by informing people about a shared impact to organize around.

Read groundWork's pathbreaking 2003 Community-Based Air Quality Monitoring Report

For more information on starting a campaign, visit "How to set up a Bucket Brigade".


Avena Jacklin describes how buckets gave a more complete look at the various chemicals and health risks associated with the refineries


Use your bucket data to understand health risks

Learn more about the various chemicals emitted from oil refineries as well as their associated health risks at SDCEA's Toxic City report

Learn more about how to identify chemicals at SDCEA's "Smells that kill"


Rico Euripidou explains the importance of bucket monitors as grab samples.


Bucket monitors are **grab samplers, **meaning that they tell you what's in the air at the moment you took the sample. Many other types of monitoring, including active and passive sampling, measure daily or weekly averages. The bucket can be used to test for up to 97 volatile organic compounds, as well as sulfur compounds.

"The best analogy for the bucket is that old thing called a polaroid camera. If you take a picture, it's taking a sample at that particular time." Azibuike Akaba, co-author of the CBE Bucket Brigade Manual

"The bucket is a self-empowering took allowing you to take control of campaigning. You don't have to depend on information from industry or government." Bobby Peek, founder of groundWork Friends of the Earth

To learn more, see What kinds of chemicals can the bucket test for?


Desmond D'Sa discusses the role of community monitoring in advocating for health standards in the 2004 Air Quality Act.



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