Heart and Hustle in Hamilton County

Air Pollution, Recycling, and other COVID-19 Impacts on Environmental Services

March 19, 2021 Bridget Doherty
Air Pollution, Recycling, and other COVID-19 Impacts on Environmental Services
Heart and Hustle in Hamilton County
More Info
Heart and Hustle in Hamilton County
Air Pollution, Recycling, and other COVID-19 Impacts on Environmental Services
Mar 19, 2021
Bridget Doherty

Hamilton County Environmental Services Director Brad Johnson discusses the rich history of environmental awareness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County that dates back to the 1800s- when Cincinnati was one of the largest cities in the country and one of the first to monitor air quality thanks to a women's organization.
With the pandemic, Environmental Services has seen its fair share of change including an emphasis on air quality, pollen and mold counting, and changes in recycling patterns including the shortage of cardboard being recycled. 

Listen as Anna Kelly, Monitoring and Analysis Supervisor, answers the most common question she hears- "how can air quality be good when the pollen count is so high in Hamilton County?" 

To learn more about Hamilton County, Ohio, our services and job openings, visit hamiltoncountyohio.gov.

Show Notes Transcript

Hamilton County Environmental Services Director Brad Johnson discusses the rich history of environmental awareness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County that dates back to the 1800s- when Cincinnati was one of the largest cities in the country and one of the first to monitor air quality thanks to a women's organization.
With the pandemic, Environmental Services has seen its fair share of change including an emphasis on air quality, pollen and mold counting, and changes in recycling patterns including the shortage of cardboard being recycled. 

Listen as Anna Kelly, Monitoring and Analysis Supervisor, answers the most common question she hears- "how can air quality be good when the pollen count is so high in Hamilton County?" 

To learn more about Hamilton County, Ohio, our services and job openings, visit hamiltoncountyohio.gov.

Jeff Aluotto  0:08  
Welcome everyone to heart and hustle in Hamilton County, a podcast about the people, places and policies that govern our local response to the covid 19. outbreak. I'm your host, Jeff saludo. County administrator with Hamilton County and with me, as always, is our communications manager Bridget Doherty.

Bridget Doherty  0:26  
Hello, everybody. Hello.

Jeff Aluotto  0:27  
And during this episode, as we always do, we're going to be discussing the issues challenges and opportunities that Hamilton County faces as we battle a global pandemic in COVID-19. So, today, I'm really excited about this episode, because I feel like as we have gone down the path of our various podcasts, we've gotten more and more, not away from COVID. Because obviously, all of this links to COVID, but more and more into the operations of county departments. And so I'm really excited today to talk to some of the all stars on our on our county team. Today, we have Brad Johnson, who is the Director of the Department of Environmental Services. And Anna Kelly, who is their monitoring and analysis supervisor, with the department. So Brad Anna, welcome.

Brad Johnson  1:15  
Thank you.

Jeff Aluotto  1:17  
The Department of Environmental Services is a fantastic agency in the county does a lot of really, really great work for Hamilton County that not a lot of us. Not a lot of folks in the community really know about. And so one of the things we wanted to do today was to give you the opportunity to talk a little bit about what the department does and the services it provides to the Hamilton County community. So Brad, welcome. Thank you. And yeah, just start off, if you wouldn't mind just talking a little bit about, from a broad perspective, what does the Department of Environmental Services do?

Brad Johnson  1:53  
Yeah, well, you made a really interesting point that, you know, sometimes public health, and other agencies, people don't know what they do. And believe it or not, that can be a good thing. That means that when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing that bad things aren't happening. Now, unfortunately, a pandemic, we don't always have control, you know, when those occur, but in environmental services, it's very similar. So we do air quality monitoring, and we also do Hamilton County, this recycling solid waste district. So it's two organizations actually incorporated into the department. And there's a real rich history with the airside that, you know, in Cincinnati, we often think about the the history with our culture, our food, our sports, but we have a very rich history when it comes to environmental awareness to and believe it or not, this organization on the air side has been around for over 100 years. And the way it worked is back in the late 1800s. Cincinnati was one of the largest cities in the country. And even looking at old statistics, by density, we were the largest density population, entire country. So what happened was, we were kind of an economical hub in the center of the country. So a lot of the transportation trains, the river boats, this was a great place to me and move that transportation on. But also we were an industrial hub, we had a lot of the Meatpacking business, iron, we had clothing. So that was great. But the bad side, when you look at environmental is in order to operate those things, you have to use coal, coal was the primary energy source back then. And so to our credit, the residents here in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, notice that we had an issue when it came to coal burning. Cincinnati is an a valley and unfortunately coal, you know, it would hold that in the valley sometimes for several days. So Cincinnati was ahead of the curve. And they actually passed a couple of ordinances in the late 1800s. To address that coal burning. Unfortunately, back then there was no EPA and no other regulatory agency available. So there was no enforcement. And so believe it or not, there was a women's organization in 1907, that, you know, back then your laundry, you actually put it up and air dried it. And as you can imagine having that much coal, it created issues with the laundry. So that small little issue brought together an agency. So in 1907, they pass a third ordinance, and what that did that created the smoke agency, and they had five employees, and today that has become what is Hamilton County environmental services. So the other side that we do beyond that, that's interesting is we recycling a solid waste, we actually limit the amount of waste that goes into the landfill. So we can talk more about that too. But with the pandemic, there's been some very interesting changes and the flow of waste and how we recycle materials.

Bridget Doherty  4:47  
That is fascinating. I love that, that it was women that started your department out of a need and that Hamilton County Cincinnati was actually pioneering in environmental services, which I don't think many People knew and I've recently found that out.

Brad Johnson  5:01  
Yeah. And it's really interesting Bridgette, because it expanded to the point where now we don't just do Hamilton County, we do five counties. We also do Butler, Clermont Clinton and Warren County as well. So we are the Southwest, just Southwest Ohio air quality agency.

Jeff Aluotto  5:17  
In Brad, you're also a department that has, because of those two different sides, you've got the solid waste and recycling side and you've got the air quality side, you have a lot of different roles. So talk if you would just a little bit for folks knowledge about you're part regulator, you're part educator, you're part grant giver. Just talk a little bit about maybe some of the major roles that you play in the community.

Brad Johnson  5:43  
Absolutely. That's a great point, Jeff. So on the airside, you know, I kind of gave the history on that we are a regulator. So we actually are a contractor under Ohio EPA, where we issue permits, and I will be talking about the air quality side, she's the expert on that. But we also do enforcement. So you know, not everybody listens to what their permit says, or sometimes you have issues with open burning, we're the agency that would actually go out and respond to those issues as well. But also on the recycling solid waste side, we're not a regulatory agency. So on that side, we're more of an educator, we're bringing awareness, we're providing the resources, the programs to ensure that we're utilizing and using those resources to the best that we can. So just to give you an idea what, you know, one of the big initiatives we're working on that on that side right now is food waste, you know, over 40% of the food that we purchase goes to the landfill, unfortunately. So we're kind of we're the we're getting in that area and figuring out how can we prevent that, you know, can we get those that food to resources that need it to homeless shelters? Or how can we educate the public on when they purchase items to not over purchase or purchase things? Or, you know, like the sell by date? That's that's a recommendation, that doesn't mean that you have to throw the food out on that date. There's a lot of misunderstanding there that we're working on. Got it.

Jeff Aluotto  6:59  
Yeah. So talk, Brad, if you would just it since we are in COVID, on a COVID podcast here, as a department head, what was talked about the first time you knew COVID was happening in the first impacts that it had on the operations of your department? Well,

Brad Johnson  7:20  
no, we knew back in December, I live up on the north side of the county, and there was an issue up in Miami University. So it was becoming aware back in December that we could possibly have COVID here. And then as we heard out in California back in January, and then Jeff, you alerted me pretty quickly and early on. So we actually had a staff meeting. And I was a part of that. And our managers decided we did a remote operation ahead of all this. So we were actually a little bit ahead of the curve. And I'm proud of that, because what we figured out was that we could work remotely with the primary portions of our operations. So we were able to get in, we still hold about 85% of our staff work from home. Now there are limitations. And Anna, you know, she can speak more about it. Because with air monitoring, you still have to get out to those sites, to check on your air monitors and to see how things are going there. So you just have to have people come and get their equipment go out in the field. But yes, we were very successful in getting our staff out working remotely. And there was a lot of IT issues. Of course, you know, everyone working in the office now their computers are from home. So that was our biggest struggle. But yeah, I would say it was the second week. In fact, we just celebrated the anniversary of working remotely. I think was St. Patrick's Day, yesterday.

Bridget Doherty  8:33  
Yeah. So Anna, if we could it maybe Brad, I should let you introduce Anna a little bit more because I really realized that she is considered one of the expert and nationally recognized. Can you tell us a little bit about Anna?

Brad Johnson  8:47  
Yeah, I am so thankful you allowed me to come down here because I knew if Anna was down here, she she wouldn't even mention her credentials. Anna Kelly is she's not only a pioneer, she is what I would consider the air quality expert. And not only the Midwest, but the country. As director I can tell you I have seen people reach out from California from pretty much everywhere throughout the country to get her advice on what she thinks with research, what trends are occurring. I know I can count on Anna we had a recent elevation and some data and you know, everyone jumped to a certain conclusion because it made sense. And I researched it and guess what, it was not what we thought it was but Anna was the one to figure that out. So she she's a very humble person. And I value her beyond she probably even knows but she she is a true asset not only to the county but to the entire country when it comes to air monitoring.

Anna Kelly  9:41  
Well, thanks.

Jeff Aluotto  9:46  
So in terms of segwaying then into into some conversation with with Annie here and I have some past history working with Dan as well and can back up everything that Brad just said and not even on the the technical side but In his experience and, and her knowledge base as it relates to just general management as well as is just a real asset to the to the county. So, Anna, now that we've gushed all over you for a couple of minutes here, we're gonna put you on the spot with some thanks, Bridget, was some tougher questions here. Okay. So one of the things that we heard when when COVID started up, you know, when started in some of the Asian countries and over into Europe, and we heard about, you know, after, aside from the health effects, we heard about the economic effects, and we heard about the impacts on things like pollution levels and greenhouse gases. And, and how those were actually in some of these countries diminishing because of the reduced economic output. Have we seen similar things? Here? You are in charge of monitoring analysis? So if there's one person who knows, what are the sources of pollution and the levels of pollution, it would be used? So what have we seen in that regard? Have we seen a substance during the COVID? pandemic? Have we seen a substantive reduction in pollution levels due to reduced economic output in this region?

Anna Kelly  11:10  
Well, what I can tell you is we one of our staff members did some research at one specific at one of our sites, that was put in place by US EPA to essentially monitor pollution coming from traffic. So we looked at data extensively, like pre COVID. And post COVID, we looked at traffic counts. And during those periods when traffic counts were low or lower, we did see a reduction in air pollution. That being said, we also though, when more returned to work started to occur. We did see we still had ozone exceedances, which in our area, ozone is a pollutant of concern where non attainment for ozone. So while we the reduced traffic help, we still there was still enough pollution out there that we were still exceeding standards.

Jeff Aluotto  12:10  
Got it? So we were still exceeding standards. Did you see? Did you see over the summer of last year, in particular, did we? Did we go down in terms of the number of exceedances that we've seen over the past 510 years? Or was it? Was it too insignificant to really notice?

Anna Kelly  12:27  
It's kind of hard to track? I can say, Okay, yeah, we had less exceedances. But with ozone, it's a secondary pollutant. So it's not and when I say that, that means that, you know, you don't have a fire and then experience the automatically experienced the results of that fire. It takes voc or volatile organic compounds that come from, you know, traffic and stationary sources in the midst with NOx or no to nitrogen dioxide in the presence of sunlight to form ozone. So you have a number of things at play in here, a variables that we can't necessarily track, one of the big ones weather. So weather patterns play a huge role in how many exceedances we have. Yeah, so people would say, Well, then, you know, there's nothing we can do to curb that cut down on those exceedances. But there are because a huge source of the pollutants that go into forming ozone, or manmade.

Jeff Aluotto  13:38  
Right. So So in terms of the the direct noticeable impact, it's hard to tell, because, as you said, it could be we saw less exceedances or fewer exceedances last year, but that could be because the weather patterns, it was cloudier. Last summer, we had a lot more rain, whatever it could have been. But that doesn't mean even if we had fewer, even if that's out of people's control, all the things that the department has been preaching for years about the things that people in organizations can do to reduce their individual footprint that ultimately can lead to ozone exceedances, whether it's carpooling fueling your car up after six o'clock, not using volatile organic compounds, paints outside that type of thing. Those are all things that people can do to help you since we're talking about that, can you are there other things that people can do from an air quality perspective to reduce their individual or their households footprint that the department wants to get out there?

Anna Kelly  14:40  
Well, you can conserve energy. You know, Duke Energy and some of our facilities, energy producers, you know, are pushing you know, I shouldn't say pushing, but you could get light bulbs from them use more environmentally aware I guess I call them environmentally aware, but environmental small environmental impact lightbulbs to reduce your load on the grid. You know, you turn off what they call energy vampires, you know, sometimes at home, you'll leave on your printers. When you're not in use well, while it may not seem like a big impact, but but turning off those little things, reduces the amount of energy that you do pull from the grid.

Brad Johnson  15:28  
The other thing that's important, you know, with that is the timing of it. So we give out your quality alerts when we the conditions are right, that we think there might be ozone issues. And you can do things outside of that time area, the way I explained it to my children, because it is so complicated. It's like baking a cake. When you bake a cake, you have all these different ingredients that you put in to make it the perfect cake. Unfortunately, this cakes, not what we want, because it's the ozone. But if you remove those ingredients to make that cake, whether it's the traffic, whether it's, you know, those other volatiles, the sun, the weather, there's all those ingredients that make that ozone. But if you can remove one of those or multiple portions, you're not going to get that cake. So that the timing of it's very important too. And that's why it's prevalent the summertime.

Anna Kelly  16:12  
Right. Right. So sample.

Bridget Doherty  16:14  
So Anna, we know right now we're kind of getting into pollen season. Yes, we are. And a lot of people, you know what some of the symptoms of allergy sufferers kind of mirror that of

Brad Johnson  16:26  
COVID. They can.

Bridget Doherty  16:28  
And so what are you what are you seeing? Or what are you doing to kind of get the word out that allergy season is here?

Anna Kelly  16:36  
Well, Bridget, that's a good question. But we're not really doing anything differently than we have done pre COVID. We count Monday through well, historically, we would count Monday through Friday, when COVID hit support staff went home. And so that left I was in the office. So we reduced our accounts to three days a week. And that was just based on staff availability. Because people who are allergy sufferers really rely on that information we provide. And we posted on our website, as well as we have a recording. So the website is the highest, we get our most hits on our pollen and mold page. So people really want that information. So we stopped I think for maybe a week when we were counting, typically we start counting about mid February, and go through the end of November. That's when they're most of those airborne allergens are out there either pollen or mold. So we stopped about a week. And then we Brad and I discussed that, you know, I think we need to start counting again, because we're going to hit the peak season of pollen. So we started, we provide and throughout the period we've provided pollen counts pollen and mold counts three days a week. And this year, we're trying to do the same monday and wednesday friday. But one thing that we've added we're adding this year. And again, it's based on staff availability, is we're going to try during these peak pollen and or mold seasons do maybe count five days a week, because we realize that the allergy sufferers rely on that information. But I appreciate or we all appreciate the public being very understanding of the fact that we're all trying to work with these limitations with COVID. And, you know, we haven't had a large outcry of not providing those counts five days a week.

Brad Johnson  18:33  
This is where she's being modest again. We are not anyway mandated to do these services. Ohio EPA and US EPA does not have any requirement that you do pollen mold count now but anna and i in the department feel it is vital information, especially during a time of COVID when somebody might be suffering from allergies and wondering, well, should I go get a test because some of those symptoms do mirror the COVID symptoms. So you know, Anna, to her credit, she was coming in the office several days last summer. I mean, there were other staff but we were trying to keep the staff protected. As much as possible. We wanted to limit that. So it put more of a I wanna say burden because it's not a burden. But she came in and she provided those services to the to the citizens and we've had people as far away as Toledo. thank us for that because not all air quality agencies do that service.

Anna Kelly  19:23  
That's true. They're very, very few mostly you'll find it for public health departments that do it or allergist offices. But we are one of the few agencies probably in the country, local air quality agency that provides the count. So yeah, it's not a it's not federally funded. It's not you know, we have done this since the mid 80s. And the story that I was told when I started is that one of the county commissioners at the time, had an announcement and my press assessor was at the at that invited to this press conference or an announcement and found out that we would start counting pollen and mold because the commissioner was an allergy sufferer. So that's how we started. And in 1986, we started to provide daily counts,

Bridget Doherty  20:16  
I think that's a great story. And it might, we might want to mention to the county Actually, we fund free COVID testing. So if you're not sure if it's allergies, testing, protect cincy.com You can find a free no cost COVID test location all around the county.

Jeff Aluotto  20:33  
That's great info Bridget and I was actually the first time I've ever heard that story. But, but on that note, it is again, just to as you said, when you kicked off your comments today, Brad, you know, in terms of people understanding how county government touches their lives, I mean, this is something that 1000s of people wake up in the morning in Hamilton County. And one of the first things they do, before they go out or send their kids out to school is they check that pollen and mold count. And that comes from the direct work of Anna and her team at the department. And and and not to get too wonky here or technical. But talk a little bit about your lab. I mean, because the the the county is is blessed to have this this resource that does, you do a lot of testing. So talk a little bit about the lab that you have and the different types of pollutants and testing that you that you do through the lab and at your department.

Anna Kelly  21:28  
Okay, well, first of all, we do pollen and mold counting. And that is the samplers on our roof. And it is called a rotor rod sampler. So daily, Monday through Friday, or when we're counting someone will go up and retrieve a small plastic rod that is greased with a silicone grease to capture anything that's in the air, these pollutants brings it down and stains it stains the rod and actually puts it underneath the microscope and visually counts. So that takes several hours, couple hours in the morning. The other thing that our lab provides, we do a lot of the while we do, yeah, a lot of the filter waiting for another program for other samplers that we run in the five County area. As a criteria pollutant to collect, you know, we weigh these filters, pre and post for not only our agency, but agencies throughout the state. So there's a regular schedule that these samplers run on and we collect the st. You know, folks collect the samples, send them to us. And then we provide the results for them. So there's two folks on our staff, two staff members who handle that work, Monday through Friday. And again, that's provided some with COVID, we've had some to do juggling of schedules in order to be able to meet those requirements. So

Jeff Aluotto  23:01  
got it, the thing I really like about you talking about that Hannah is if you're a young person in this community, and you are interested in the environment, you might be going into high school college. And you're thinking about what am I going to do with my career moving forward. And I, I know I'm interested in chemistry and the environment, those types of things. county government actually has a lot of different positions across the span of our operations that work directly with STEM type, careers and can if someone is interested in environmental protection, we've got a lot of opportunities here in the county, yours is one of those where people can do something great for the environment, and make a career in a in doing public service because of that. So I think you're a great example of how those in those interests align.

Brad Johnson  23:58  
Thank you.

Yeah, Jeff, thank you for saying that. I, I want to add that, you know, it is interesting, and the passion that our staff has, for the work that we do is just phenomenal. It's off the chart. And I know and I preach this, my staff knows this, that there's nothing, it feels so good when you finish your day. And you know, the work that you did made a benefit to society. And it's work that you love. So if you're a scientist, you're a technical person. We have engineers, it is a fantastic career. I started my first seven years in the private industry and you know it private industry is fine, but it's driven more by the financial side. We're not driven by the financial side, we're driven by the science, we're driven by the protections, and it's just in the teaching. It's a fantastic career. And you know, as much as I love having Anna, you know, there's a lot of our staff who are reaching that age of retirement. So if people are interested, I certainly would welcome them to to keep up on our website. And I also would be remiss if I didn't mention that so you know, we're getting a lot of good interaction. Hear if you if you would be interested for pollen mold counting, I know a lot of people are already out there. But feel free to visit our website, Southwest Ohio air dot o RG. And we have also social media and we do post those on social media as well. And on the recycling side, Hamilton County recycles dot o RG fantastic information there. And we want to get that out.

Jeff Aluotto  25:22  
Yeah, thanks for mentioning that, Brad. Because I do know that one of the things we get calls about all the time, and when I'm just out there talking to people. We may be talking about some other issue. But the question I'll get is, how the heck do I recycle my computer? Or how do I do in and that's, that's a place if you go to that website where people will be able to go on and find different ways to recycle and reduce waste and that type of things.

Brad Johnson  25:45  
And it's not a static thing it changes right? So I literally get on there when I get that question too. Because it may be different from what it was last week. So yes, it's it's a dynamic thing that we update daily.

Bridget Doherty  25:57  
Your comms team is phenomenal getting the word out about all your programs. I'm curious, Anna, being our local nationally recognized expert, what's the one question you get from the public the most?

Anna Kelly  26:10  
Thank you. I'm glad you brought that up. And that deserves a lot of clarification. So one question that we get or do not fail to get at least once a year is how can you say the air quality is good when my eyes are burning, and my nose is running. So public needs to understand we all need to understand that the pollen and mold count in no way is a reflection of the air quality index. Those are two separate entities and descriptors. The pollen and mold counts have their own classification system that is derived we've derived it from the number of years we've counted, it's like a 10 year running average. And we've done statistical analysis to determine Hi, you know, low, moderate, high, very high for the data that we see. The air quality index is a national index put out by the US EPA, and it is for the criteria pollutants, ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and lead. So you can have good air quality, but still have a bad allergy day, airborne allenge day. So good question,

Jeff Aluotto  27:30  
Bridget. Thanks for asking. And I know we're probably getting a little bit late. But one last question. Just to follow up on that Anna, talk if you would a little bit about just how the dynamic between sciences, ability to monitor at lower and lower levels? And what that what the what implications that has for how we assess air quality. So So number one, I guess the question would be have pollutants in the air in this region been coming down or go up? They've been they've been going down. But we are still in some in many instances not meeting federal air quality requirements. And so how does that work from a regulatory is that more of a function of regulation or, or health both?

Anna Kelly  28:17  
It's both, but may but really, it's driven by the science and the Health Studies. So every five years, US EPA is required to review the the levels that they've set for the criteria pollutants determine to determine if they're still protective of public health, through the Health Studies, and then, you know, the team from usepa takes it to a committee, a National Committee, and they may recommend make recommendations to the EPA administrator on what the level should be, should it stay the same or not. So the bottom line is, and then the administrator makes a recommendation. With most of the credit with all of them most. The levels of the standard have changed over the years. And when I say change, they've lowered and what we're finding is that those lower standards need to be more protective of public health. So in the case of ozone, while we've seen a decline, and we have charts and graphs that show a significant decline in these pollutants. For ozone, we're still not meeting the standard because the the standard has been changed. It's been lowered to be more protective of public health. So to that, and yes, we are lowering the amount of pollutants in the air. But we're also finding that pollutants at a lower level still can cause adverse health effects for the sensitive populations. Now, you mentioned Jeff and we could talk for hours. But you mentioned Jeff, maybe lower some lower pollutants, well, we do have lower levels of pollutants. So we do have now we're monitoring for a few pollutants at very, very low levels, what would be considered Heard background previously. So what that is being used to determine is to help us determine and basically US EPA determine what the what is causing the high ozone, what specifically is causing the high ozone? And how low are we seeing that pollutant add that has an effect on that criteria pollutants.

Jeff Aluotto  30:25  
Got it? So I think what I take from from that is, is yes, science continues to advance, we continue to find new ways to detect pollutants in lower and lower levels. But at the same time, our advances in public health continue. And we continue to do studies that show the linkage between those smaller quantities of pollutants to public health. And so these things kind of work hand in hand and in tandem, so right? Well, yes, it may be true that pollutant levels are lowering because of the good work that you all are doing with with regulatory actions and what's going on in the in the field of science and just the good work of corporations out there trying to lower their own footprint. That doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet in terms of making sure that we have as healthy of environment as we as we possibly can. And that's what you guys do every day is monitor for that and make sure that from a regulatory perspective, as well as a public health perspective, we're doing the best we can here in Hamilton County.

Bridget Doherty  31:26  
That's right. So Brad, to kind of round out some of the impacts of COVID, I was wondering if you could kind of reflect on, you know, the lasting impacts that Environmental Services has seen since the pandemic? Well, Jeff

Brad Johnson  31:41  
just basically teed me up perfectly, because, you know, it sounds silly to say that this is exciting time when it comes to public health. But in some ways it is because this is a huge research project that we haven't seen for over 100 years. So you know, when we look at the air quality data, and what's coming in the effect the traffic's had, you know, reductions there. How does it impact ozone? How does it impact this part? It's really interesting to see what data will come out of that and what research animal find. And what that'll do. It'll allow us to improve and prioritize where we want to hit and target things when it comes to air pollution and recycling and solid waste side. It's very similar because what we've seen is as commercial businesses and industry shut down, not only did air pollutants, reduce, but we also saw reduction in certain recyclables. So for example, cardboard, cardboard was a you know, most businesses now have Baylor's which crushes the cardboard, and then they get it to the recycling facility. But what happened was people as they went home, those things were getting shipped directly to their house. So there was a huge influx of cardboard going to residential homes. Well, the unfortunate thing is breaking down those boxes and putting that in your bin, if he even had the curbside service in your community. We weren't seeing as much cardboard. So there was a huge demand, it became a commodity during the pandemic. So it allowed us I mean, we saw that right away. And we did a campaign to we created commercials and things to increase that cardboard. So it is it's interesting to see. And you know, I mentioned food waste, we know that there's a lot of opportunity there too. And especially now with a pandemic, the last thing you want to do from a financial standpoint, is to be wasting food. So there's a lot of great opportunity. It's again, going back to what we said with the passion. I think, you know, as the younger generation starts to come in, I think it's going to really be a benefit that they might look at it look at these things from a different lens. So I'm really excited I plan to I've been the director for two years, I came from public health. I worked there for 12 years with Greg customer. And I'm so excited about the future and what we're going to find as we move forward and I'm happy that the the numbers with a pandemic are headed in the right direction right now. So a lot to be optimistic about right now.

Jeff Aluotto  33:57  
Well, that optimism is probably a good way to round out this segment of or this episode of, of heart and hustle, Brad Anna, thanks so much for joining us today. And really thanks for all the great work you do for Hamilton County and its residents. And thanks to you for listening to this episode number six of heart and hustle in Hamilton County. Just a reminder to subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify, Google podcast Stitcher, and other directories. And as always, you can find the podcast on our website at Hamilton County ohio.gov on the county administers page. So on behalf of my co host Bridget Doherty, Jeff Ludo and we will see you next time on heart and hustle in Hamilton County.