Clean Air Survey Records the Smoggiest June in At Least Five Years July 5th, 2012
by Glynn Wilson
Every time we turn around there is another report that shows how we humans are screwing up the planet we live on. Unfortunately, most of the time these stories are written up as isolated incidents with an almost mandatory skepticism and rarely are the dots connected for people between one event and the next and possible solutions.
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June wasn’t just hot and stormy, according to the non-profit watchdog group Clean Air Watch. It was the smoggiest June in at least the past five years.
The survey found that in June, people in 41 states and the District of Columbia suffered levels of smog worse than the national ozone standard set by the Bush administration in 2008. Last month was by far the smoggiest June since then. These smog levels are labeled “Code Orange” or “Code Red” under the Air Quality Index system created by the federal government.
The survey found the national health standard for smog, technically ozone, was breached at least 2,110 times at state-run monitoring stations. By comparison, during June 2011, there were 1,240 such events. For 2012 as a whole there have been 3,112 of these dirty-smog readings, compared to 1,689 in 2011. In 2008, there were 1,560 bad air days in June, 540 in 2009, 570 in 2010, 1,240 in 2011 and 2,110 in 2012 — about 25 percent more than the next highest year, which shows the trend is only getting worse.
Clean Air Watch says the widespread nature of the problem underscores the “dire need for new smog-fighting tools,” especially cleaner, low-sulfur gasoline.
The group indicates that the survey itself understates the true extent of the smog problem, and the Environmental Protection Agency conceded more than two years ago that the Bush standard was too weak to protect children with asthma and other people with breathing problems.