Like a certain Hobbit, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to take a closer look at Smaug. Sorry, smog. The EPA is on a bit of a kick in thinking about cleaner air standards, which makes sense since the winds of change are blowing. Europeans are taking a closer look at diesel emissions and health organizations are understanding just how bad exhausted air can be (think more asthma and cancer).
The air in Los Angeles is better than it has been in the past, but that isn't stopping four environmental and health groups from suing the EPA to do a better job. Two national groups (the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council) are filing the lawsuit with two local groups (Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and Communities for a Better Environment) in the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals against the EPA's "deficient smog plan," as Earth justice attorney Adrian Marti
In UK, Exhaust Emissions Kill More Than Crashes Do
That dirty look parents (OK, some parents) give a cigarette smoker blowing smoke towards their kids? Maybe those should extend to drivers of cars using conventional internal-combustion engines. Which would make for a whole lot of stink-eye.
One recent report from Nature Geoscience will have ethanol advocates convinced that Big Oil's political influence goes far beyond the reach of US borders. That publication, according to Nebraska's Grand Island Independent, says that greater use of ethanol as a light-duty vehicle fuel actually boosts smog levels. That runs counter to many other reports on the subject, though ethanol's environmental prospects have, like everything else related to the subject, been a subject of debate.
Large Chinese cities aren't known for having clean air. Just this week, the Chinese city of Harbin filled with record levels of smog after starting the city's coal-fired heating system, according to CNN. But Li Shufu, the chairman of Geely, Volvo's parent company, says the automaker's astute attention to cabin comfort in areas such as air filtration is a selling point for the Swedish automaker in China, Forbes reports.
The Chinese government is desperately trying a variety of methods to reduce its capital city's heavy layers of air pollution. Pollution taxes, urging residents to stay indoors, government support for EVs and limited license plate registrations have all been used. This month, things have gotten serious. Bloomberg reports that highways and airports in Beijing were closed down for a week to reduce heavy pollution. Police closed off the six expressways that link Beijing to Shanghai, Tianjin and Harb
There's more scientific research on the hazardous impacts of air pollution. Researchers at the Universirty of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health have found that living near traffic pollution during pregnancy and the first year of life might increase the likelihood of developing childhood cancer.
Air pollution in China's capital city is reaching sobering levels. The World Health Organization warns that levels for fine airborne particulates that pose the greatest health risks should go no higher than 25 for 24-hour exposure on the PM2.5 scale. On January 22, the official Beijing government reading near Tiananmen Square reached 258 at 4 a.m. The city rates it as "heavily polluted."
Living close to highways has built-in health hazards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma and carbon monoxide poisoning are two major public health problems caused by air pollution. Now, autism could be added to the list.
If you visited or lived in the Los Angeles area many years ago, you why it was called, unofficially, the City of Smog. In the early 1970s, I attended the LA Zoo with my third grade classmates on one of those given days when the South Coast Air Quality Management District likely issued a smog warning. The sky was gray, thick, and hazy. My eyes were red, my throat was thick and sore and it hurt to breathe deeply. Even though there are more cars on the streets and freeways of LA now than 40 years a
In a move sure to please urban-area gas station owners, the EPA has issued a waiver to its 1994 rule requiring gas pump vapor recovery systems. The devices were required in mostly urban areas to reduce smog-causing vapors from being released into the air during the refueling of vehicles.
Back in June of 2010, the picturesque city of London recorded its 36th "bad air" day of the year. That was a problem since European Union (EU) guidelines allow just 35 "bad air" days a year, so reaching that unfortunate level by the sixth month of 2010 meant that London was in violation of the law.
In December of 2010, the city of Beijing, China, announced that it would enforce a measure that restricts vehicle registrations to a mere 240,000, or one-third of the number recorded in 2010. That may sound harsh, but the move is aimed at curbing the city's chronic gridlock and reducing its unsafe levels of air pollution.
Rising levels of roadside air pollution plague major cities across the globe. Over in Europe, fine particulate pollution in the cities of Bucharest, Budapest, Barcelona, Paris, Rome and London – to name a few – has been measured at levels exceeding the United Nations World Health Organization's recommended 10 micrograms per cubic meter. In fact, out of 25 European cities studied, only Stockholm was consistently be below the UN's 10 microgram threshold.
The picturesque city of London has recorded its 36th "bad air" day this year after monitoring equipment detected dangerous levels of minute airborne particles. EU guidelines allow just 35 "bad air" days, so reaching this unfortunate level by the sixth month of the year means that London is in violation of the law and faces stiff fines and numerous court cases. Also, London's air pollution is now considered to be the worst in all of Europe.
The decision on whether or not to allow states to enforce limits on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions is moving back to center stage under the incoming Obama administration. Lisa Jackson, the President-elect's nominee for EPA administrator, has promised to "immediately revisit" the issue once she is confirmed for the office.