Monday, October 1, 2012

Los Angeles Ranked Among the Dirtiest Cities in America

Photo Credit: Rosetta Ragusa
 The city of Los Angeles is the fourth dirtiest city in the nation according to Travel + Leisure Magazine’s September issue.
 Los Angeles is known for its rich culture and unfortunately its high levels of smog is putting it on the dirtiest city list.
The city for years has been criticized for its ever present smog that most residents can see hovering above the downtown buildings. In fact, the American Lung Association has ranked Los Angeles in the top three for having the most damaging air pollution in the nation. The California American Lung Association issued a State of the Air report for 2012 based on an A thru F grading scale and Los Angeles received a letter F grade for its air cleanliness and overall quality.
“Growing up and living in LA I never thought I would have to worry too much about the air and my health. I never actually thought about it because I took the air for granted almost. It’s weird to think that people smoking cigs and big trucks that I see on the 5 freeway are ruining the air and making all of the city dirty. I sometimes can’t breath as well as I like to or should be allowed to but that’s what the city has come to. I mean we have other problems like too much trash on the street and homelessness but we need clean air right now. It’s kind of scary to think about all of this,” said Gloria Martinez, resident of Los Angeles since 1982.
In addition, Los Angeles had over 100 days of red flag smog days with health warnings for those that have respiratory diseases. These red flag warnings are becoming even more present recently along with orange flag warnings as well. The California American Lung Association links an F grade city with serious health consequences such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and even premature death.
“I am 75 years old and I eat healthy and do what I can to be healthy but I always have more than a hard time breathing in my own house. I’ve lived here for more than 15 years and I love where I live to be honest. You asked me if it’s because of the dirty air and I am glad you asked me that because I think it could be that but I also think it’s other life style choices people have that cause themselves to be sicker than the average person. My husband smoked two packs a day and to be honest that could be the reason why I have this problem but you never know really. I would like to say that Los Angeles is not that bad but I also hope things start changing,” said Trine Boisel.
The nationwide Group Against Smog and Pollution is not surprised that Los Angeles is among the dirtiest cities in America.
“The city of Los Angeles has a lot of smog which makes it the dirtiest to live in as a result. Everyone sees that on a daily basis because that part of the west coast has perfect geography for smog to exist in. This part of California has huge mountains around it and makes it very difficult for pollution to escape and get out of.  Also, China has coal burning particles that are making their way to the coast nearest to Los Angeles and this just contributes to the dirty air and the dirty city. You know I read an article today about how Carmageddon shut down really helped Los Angeles in so many ways. This is true because less cars on the road means better air and I think that could be why there is so much smog in that city. I think that when that freeway was shutdown it just showed everyone that less smog is a result of less cars on the road,” said Jamin Bogi, a member of the Group Against Smog and Pollution.
The city of Los Angeles is not giving up on their fight for clean air and a clean city for its population of over 3 million. Although this community issue has been around for decades there is still hope for a cleaner city. There are dozens of different private and public groups rallying for a clean city and healthier people.  To name a few: Breathe California of Los Angeles County,  California Air Resources Board, Coalition for Clean Air, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

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