Sunday, October 02, 2005
Environment - Air Pollution: Hazardous haze worse this year
The Sunday Indianapolis Star's front-page, above-the-fold story today, by Tammy Webber, is headlined "Hazardous haze worse this year: Spike in summer pollution alerts spurs calls for faster action to cut smog." Some quotes from the beginnng of this long piece:
Air quality in Central Indiana took a turn for the worse this summer, underscoring concerns that more must be done to make the air safe for all to breathe.
In all, 17 alerts about unsafe air -- 11 related to ozone levels and six stemming from soot, or fine particles -- were issued in the region. Last year, there was none. * * *
The spike in alerts -- partly the result of warmer temperatures necessary for harmful ground-level ozone to form and partly a reflection of new reporting practices about particles -- prompted renewed calls for greater attention to the problem. * * *
The stakes are high: Smog and fine particles, or soot, are linked to asthma and other respiratory conditions and heart problems. New research indicates that soot can cause health problems at levels lower than currently allowed. * * *
Poor air quality has economic consequences, too.
Regions that fail to comply with federal air-pollution standards must find ways to reduce emissions before allowing construction or expansion of industrial plants. Failure to comply also can result in the loss of federal dollars for roads.
On the other hand, policymakers are worried that too many regulations will strangle economic growth. Jobs, in other words, are directly related to smoggy skies.
The upshot, experts say, is that everyone, from the biggest companies to individuals, needs to help find ways to improve air quality. Doing so may prove unpopular, not just with businesses but with motorists who may be asked to make sacrifices common in smog-choked cities but unusual in Central Indiana.