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
Photos below courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
|President Johnson signing Clean Air Legislation. President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970.|
|Air pollution in Birmingham, Alabama, USA before the Clean Air Act|
|Birmingham, AL, USA before Clean Air Act|
|Tacoma, WA, USA skyline before Clean Air Act|
|Man sweeping particulate matter deposited from Air Pollution in Atlanta, GA, USA|