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Friday, April 1, 2016

Air Quality

Surprisingly, air quality in the United States is better today than it was in 1970 due to the Clean Air Act. Beijing, China has similar problems suffered by the United States prior to the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970. Air Pollution in China

Air quality is measured using the Air Quality Index (AGI explanation link). Atlanta and Columbus, GA have problematic AGI scores. When preparing my home for sale in the Atlanta area, code orange days in the summer of 2002 delayed my work outside.  Air pollution combined with a lung problem can create a medical emergency. A minuscule rise in air pollution creates a ten percent increase in cardiovascular disease,
Correlation of cardiovascular disease of Type 2 diabetics to air pollution
Health affects of ambient air pollution
CNN article of air pollution and increased death rate

The more exposure to polluted air, the greater the complications for citizenry.
World Health Organization Report


So many people think that living far from heavy pollution protects them. I live in a rural area and the air is cleaner. I chose to live away from a popular more populated area to avoid summer smog from an Interstate and the heavy amount of commuters to large employers. Automobile exhaust is a significant contributor to air pollution.

Pollution does not disappear. It becomes diluted and travels. Larger particles may settle as dirt. Clingman's Dome which is the highest point of the Smokey Mountains suffers from air pollution as a result of coal burning electrical generation plants in the mid-western states such as Ohio. I heard this fact from an educator working at the Tremont Educational center in the Smoky mountains. Howard Neufeld, a plant ecologist from Appalachian State, is quoted in this article supporting this statement.

Educating the public is important in solving this problem. I remember as a child the strong sulfur smell of the paper mill in Macon, Georgia. When it rained, my clean hair would appear greasy due to the high acidity of the rain. Air pollution also affects the acidity of our lakes and streams.

We do a better job today. But, we need to not be complacent or accepting of a problem. Like children not telling their parents they have a problem at school. They hope the problem will go away. Later parents learn the child has not been doing their homework, talking too much, failing tests or doing poor classwork. The child has to deal with their parent's anger and the poor grade. We have to remember that we all need to deal with the problem or pay the consequences.

Too often people mistake a problem as being a particular country. A young German woman was telling a group of teachers that they did not have pollution in German. Since she was a teacher and I was a teacher. I interrupted her and told her the truth. The Black Forest in Germany has problems due to pollution. Many rivers in her homeland are green due to eutrophication. Very poor environmental laws in the Soviet Bloc countries means water quality is very poor in those countries. First world countries do not suffer as much as those in second and third world countries. But they have a problem.

I chose pictures from Georgia and Alabama. Agriculture is the mainstay of our economies. We think of pollution being a large industrial Northeast city problem. More pictures can be found on

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Smog_in_the_United_States


Photos below courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Clean Air Act Signing
President Johnson signing Clean Air Legislation. President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970.


INDUSTRIAL SMOG BLACKS OUT HOMES ADJACENT TO NORTH BIRMINGHAM PIPE PLANT. THIS IS THE MOST HEAVILY POLLUTED AREA OF... - NARA - 545396
Air pollution in Birmingham, Alabama, USA before the Clean Air Act

SMOG OBSCURES BIRMINGHAM SKYLINE. TWO STEEL FURNACES OPERATED ROUND THE CLOCK BY U.S. STEEL, PLUS OTHER HEAVY... - NARA - 545467
Birmingham, AL, USA before Clean Air Act

SMOG HANGS OVER WATERFRONT AREA, WITH TACOMA SKYLINE IN BACKGROUND - NARA - 545265
Tacoma, WA, USA skyline before Clean Air Act



Atlanta parking garage settled particulates
Man sweeping particulate matter deposited from Air Pollution in Atlanta, GA, USA


13 comments:

  1. Brilliant. I love the educational aspect of your A post. Although we are headed to the states in a few weeks, and not thrilled to read it all.

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    1. You would think New Zealand would be pristine. However, the nature of pollution is that you don't always see it. Below are two articles about New Zealand.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11251714
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/5690153/Auckland-air-pollution-worst-in-NZ

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  2. We should all be so grateful for our air quality control measures. When I was in China, especially Bejing, my lungs ached. Great post and loved the historical perspective.

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    1. Clean air and water are certainly not to be taken for granted. Beijing has a terrible problem.

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  3. It hurts my lungs just looking at that.

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    1. Sobering topic which would be great to ignore except that it is a danger for us all.

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  4. Thank you for such a thoughtful post. We all need clean air to live a healthy life, so we should take more responsibility. Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. As a teacher, I hated teaching the topic. It is so dismal. But there has been progress which is good to learn.

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  5. Clean air. Clean water. Clean beaches and land. Is it too much to ask?

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings during the #AtoZChallenge at Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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    1. Perfection maybe not; but, responsible stewardship yes. Thanks for visiting and leaving your link.

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  6. I can remember when I was a kid we'd drive from our small town to the city where my aunt lived and you could smell the city long before you reached it. I'm happy to say that's no longer the case.

    Interesting post!

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    1. That is so good to hear. Thanks for visiting.

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