I live in the Los Angeles area, about 25 miles from downtown 17 miles or so from the city. A few weeks ago I asked my wife, "When is the last time you remember it being smoggy?"
She could not remember a smoggy day.
I will repeat that, WE LIVE IN LOS ANGELES AND WE CAN NOT REMEMBER THE LAST SMOGGY DAY.
So, today Yahoo has a list of the ten most polluted cities in the United States, and, what do you know, Los Angeles is #3.
What cities are MORE POLLUTED THAN LOS ANGELES?
Bakersfield and Hanford, CA are the two most polluted cities in America.
I think the truth is Air Pollution is no longer caused by automobile and factory emissions. We seem to have taken care of that problem.
If you look at the list of the top ten most polluted cities, seven of them (Louisville, Phoenix, Fresno, Visalia, Los Angeles, Hanford, and Bakersfield) are nestled in valleys, right up against mountain ranges.
THE TOP FIVE MOST POLLUTED CITIES IN AMERICA ARE ALL IN CALIFORNIA AND ARE ALL CLASSIFIED AS VALLEYS.
Here's something we here at Astute Bloggers called your attention to back in April of 2010
Does The Combination of Sun, Geogrpahy, And Farming Cause Air Pollution?
The metro areas with the nation's poorest air quality
Obama's recent proposal to open some areas along the eastern Gulf of
Mexico, the Atlantic coastline and the north coast of Alaska
to oil and natural gas drilling elicited praise from drilling advocates
and oil companies as well as sharp criticism from environmental groups
and citizens near the areas that might be affected.
environmental impacts from doing so won't be felt for some time. What's
affecting Americans today? Poor air quality. This matter often gets
buried under more high-profile concerns like climate change, but it is
particularly important as summer approaches because sunlight
is a key ingredient in making harmful ozone, a ground level gas that
contributes to urban smog and inflames the lungs, causing shortness of
breath, wheezing and throat irritation.
Sunny areas like Los Angeles face the harmful effects of ozone year-round. In fact, the Los Angeles
metro is named the country's worst for ozone by the American Lung
Association's State of the Air 2010 report, released Wednesday. The
ranking is worrisome for the city's residents because inhaling ozone is
akin to "getting a sunburn on your airways," says Dr. Norman H. Edelman,
the ALA's chief medical officer.
Other California metros didn't fare much better: Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno and Sacramento
round out the five worst regions for ozone. The problem is statewide
because of both California's exposure to sunlight and a natural
geography that allows pollution to hover rather than diffuse to other
areas, says Janice Nolen, the ALA's assistant vice president for policy and advocacy.
The State of the Air report also ranks cities based on short-term and year-round particle pollution, which are caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon and nitrogen oxides. The short-term measure ranks metros by periodic spikes in airborne particles, and Bakersfield, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; Pittsburgh; Los Angeles; and Birmingham, Ala., were, by this measure, found to have the country's five worst.
of these cities also show up in the rankings for year-round particle
pollution, which measures the daily average level of airborne particles.
The five worst areas are: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Los Angeles; Visalia, Calif.; and Pittsburgh.
Behind The Numbers
of the Air 2010 ranks metropolitan statistical areas and combined
statistical areas based on data collected by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) between 2006 and 2008. Both the ozone and
short-term particle pollution rankings are based on spikes in their
daily measurements and were calculated using weighted averages; each
level of the Air Quality index
was given a numerical weight, and these values were then multiplied by
the number of days each metro reached them. Contrarily, the year-round
particle pollution rankings are based on the average daily airborne
particle levels during the three years studied.
ALA found that over 175 million Americans, or 58% of the population,
live in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle
pollution. Worse, almost 24 million people live in counties with
unhealthy levels of ozone and both short-term and year-round particle
populations are especially vulnerable. "People in poverty often live
near major highways, near sources of pollution," Nolen says.
First, all five of these areas are valleys. The cities all nestle up
against mountains. Los Angeles' valley opens up onto the sea, but the
Hollywood hills make it a real valley. In other words, there is nowhere
for air to escape to but upward.
Here is a map of California:
So, you can see, topographically, how these areas are climate traps.
to this the fact that three of the four chemicals being discussed here
as "pollutants" are, indeed, known to be abundant elements in a healthy
ecology; Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides
, and Carbon.
Dioxice, it is true, has no role in mammalian biology. And, I guess,
what does not make us better will kill us. So, let's call Sulfur Dioxide
a true pollutant.
But, carbon is the basic building block of human beings
. Additionally, Carbon Dioxide is what we exhale, and it is what trees inhale.
is an important element of healthy soil, so it no surprise that, where
there is healthy soil, there is also an abundance of nitrogen atoms
which combine with oxygen atoms to create nitrogen oxides. During the day, there is more nitrous oxide and ozone, and during the night time there is more nitrogen dioxide.
finally, on the subject of Ozone; it is said, by scientists to be good
up high in the stratosphere, but not so good for humans. Too bad it is a naturally occurring element in sunny areas
Strong sunlight and hot weather cause ground-level ozone to form in harmful concentrations in the air.
we see that, if four of the five most polluted cities in the United
States are mostly rural farm communities, and all five are valleys in
the sun, then sunlight, and the warmth it provides must be the main
culprit in "air pollution".
Maybe Obama can begin taxing the sun. After all, it is putting out more than it's share of light.