Dear Decaturish – DeKalb County gets an F on air pollution
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How disappointing to learn that, once again, DeKalb County has received a failing grade for ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s 2015 “State of the Air” report released earlier this month. Ozone is invisible, but it’s one of the most widespread and dangerous pollutants in the U.S.
Ozone pollution can damage the respiratory, cardiovascular, central nervous and reproductive systems. It can also shorten lives. Without healthy air, quality of life for all Decaturish residents suffers. Yet, it’s our children, seniors and those living with lung disease—like asthma—who are most vulnerable.
Climate change is making it even harder for us to clean up our air. That’s because warmer temperatures enhance ozone formation. We need policies that regulate greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate climate change and protect public health.
Getting DeKalb County back on the right track requires swift adoption of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which will set the first-ever limits on the amount of carbon pollution created by power plants—the single largest source of global warming emissions in the U.S.
The Clean Power Plan promises to prevent up to 150,000 asthma attacks and up to 6,600 premature deaths annually. We must resist efforts by industry and some in Congress to delay, weaken or block this critical healthy air safeguard. When it comes to the air we breathe, the stakes are high, and the time to act is now.
Merlin is a field organizer with Mothers & Others for Clean Air, a program of the American Lung Association of the Southeast.