To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Drought linked to polluted winter air
Lack of rainfall, along with low winds and
stagnant conditions that trapped pollution near the ground, contributed
to increase in soot, officials say.
An adult and youngster are silhouetted by the sunset while riding bikes
in Azusa on Monday. The drought is being linked to an increase in air
pollution this winter.
California's parched winter brought a big surge in air pollution,
pushing the number of bad air days one-third higher than the previous
winter and posing a serious health threat, state air quality officials
Levels of haze-forming
soot typically increase in winter, but this year was worse because of
the persistent lack of rainfall, low winds and unusually stagnant
conditions that trapped pollution close to the ground.
Karen Magliano, an assistant division chief at the California Air
Resources Board, said the increase in dirty air was a weather-driven
exception to a decade-long trend of improvement.
The San Joaquin Valley's air
was the most polluted in the state, exceeding federal health standards
for fine particulate matter for 66 days — more than half of the
November-to-February winter season used by air quality regulators. The
San Francisco Bay Area logged 15 bad air days over the same period, the
highest in seven years.
To keep levels of the microscopic air pollutants from getting worse,
the Bay Area Air Quality Management District called a record-tying 30
days of "spare the air" alerts banning residential wood-burning, up from
10 last winter. The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which
includes Los Angeles and Orange counties, issued a record 16 no-burn
alerts, up from last winter's five.
Wood smoke boosts levels of fine particles, or soot, that build up in
winter air because of emissions from vehicle tailpipes, diesel trucks,
trains, construction equipment and industrial stacks. The pollutants
pose a chronic health risk because they lodge deep in the lungs and are
linked to respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer and thousands of
early deaths a year in California.
"We've really seen it quite bad this year," said Penny Newman, who
heads the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in the
Riverside County city of Jurupa Valley, which routinely has the highest
levels of fine-particle pollution in Southern California. "A lot of us
who have asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaselike I do have been really struggling."
Newman questioned regulators' reliance on burn bans as a
pollution-fighting tool and said they should instead require steeper
emissions cuts from industrial sources. Wood burning, she said, "seems
just a drop in the bucket compared to the diesel trucks and locomotives
that are concentrated in our area."
Air quality officials, however, say that burning restrictions are an
important and effective instrument to clean some of the dirtiest air in
the nation. Wood fireplaces and stoves in millions of California homes
generate enough smoke that they are one of the largest sources of winter
pollution, they say.