According to a new report, six of the USA’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in California, which means that the Golden State’s smoggy reputation is well deserved.
California in the lead:
The USA’s most days of highly polluted air is held again by Bakersfield, California, according to data from 2013-2015 found by the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report which was released on Wednesday.
The report also lists several worst. Like Bakersfield leads the worst spikes of short-term pollution, while Visala/Hanford, Calif. leads the cities with the worst overall year-round pollution, and Los Angeles/Long Beach area leads in the worst ozone pollution category.
Despite California’s strict environmental laws, the state’s soaring population and topography allow air pollution to overcome them, according to Paul Billings of the American Lung Association. An increase in cars and trucks on the roads occurs when a boom in people happens, and most of them live in valley and basins, which is where pollution tends to settle.
Billings added that the state’s sunny weather doesn’t help as the heat is a major factor in high levels of ozone pollution.
However, the state’s strict laws on tailpipe pollution and eliminating coal-fired power plants have protected it from being far worse. Billings said: “They’ve done more than any other state to counteract air pollution.”
The report is a combination of good and bad news; year-round pollution has improved however, short-term spikes of intensely polluted air have increased.
The report found that “While most of the nation has much cleaner air quality than even a decade ago, many cities reported their highest number of unhealthy days since the report began” 18 years ago.
“Fundamental right to breathe healthy air”:
The report said that around 125 million Americans nationwide live with unhealthful levels of air pollution, which places them at risk for early death and other serious health effects like lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.
In the report, it said: “Even with continued improvement, too many people in the United States live where the air is unhealthy for them to breathe.”
According to the report, only six metro areas recorded zero days when pollution reached unhealthy levels, which are: Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; Wilmington, N.C.; Fort Myers / Naples, Fla.; Melbourne, Fla., and Elmira, N.Y.
Billings voiced his concern towards Trump’s plans to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, by saying: “We have to keep the environmental cop on the beat.”
In Trump’s budget proposal, the agency’s budget will be cut by 31% that would include weakening or eliminating the Clean Air Act, which, according to the report, it has been the most important tool in the fight for healthy air by driving emission reductions for more than 47 years.
Harold P. Wimmer, the president and CEO of the American Lung Association said: “Everyone has a fundamental right to breathe healthy air.”