[Image by eea.europa.eu]
Old news, but ever since the covid 19 outbreak, we have been wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus. This method has helped us reduce the amount of covid cases in humans, and so far, it’s helped a lot. However, these masks don’t help us against the air in general, and some air is intoxicating even when you don’t expect it. Many cities in the United States have a lot of air pollution and are currently unhealthy environments. Some studies found that many Americans experienced more than 100 days of polluted air last year in 2020.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people die every year because of air pollution, not just in the United States but in the entire world. The non-profit organizations Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S PIRG Education Fund released studies earlier this month. This research showed that areas around the San Diego district in California showed a particulate matter (PM) of 2.5 and an air quality index (AQI) over 50. For reference, a PM of 2.5 is found in wildfires, and an AQI from 51 to 100 is considered “moderate” air quality. However, moderate air quality involves some risk for those with sensitive lungs or breathing conditions. These San Diego areas showed the most days with these ozone numbers.
Los Angeles came in second for most pollution with 209 days, and Riverside came in third. Arizona’s Phoenix area came in fourth with 149 days and Colorado’s Denver area fifth. Other regions of the United States like Texas, Ohio, and Indiana were also in the top 10 most polluted places.
These reports were primarily to let people know about the pollution going on in the country and better healthier routes towards our resources. One of the solutions is to make everything electric, from heating to transportation; making everything more electric would greatly benefit the air quality. In addition, having more access to these services would also be of better convenience for other people. As for transportation, urging people to walk, bike, or take other non-gasoline-driven vehicles for a ride would also help air quality. Overall, the plan is to reduce the burning of fossil fuels altogether.
Wendy Wendlandt stated that “Air pollution can be just as dangerous for our health as smoking. We learned in the 1960s that cigarettes were bad for us and we started to do something about it. Today, air pollution causes hundreds of thousands of people who never took up smoking to die early each year. It’s past time to do something about that.”
What do you think about air pollution? Do you think your city is doing an excellent job of reducing air pollution? Do you believe that we can do better for our environment?