Air quality demands more action in 2012Published 6:23pm Sunday, December 30, 2012
BENTON HARBOR – There were 21 air quality action days issued for 2012, compared to just eight days in 2011, according to data from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The DEQ program monitors ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution. Fine particle pollution, commonly called soot, is an air pollutant linked to premature death, heart and lung disease, and potentially even cancer and reproductive harm. Soot comes from such sources as power plant, factory and diesel emissions.
The DEQ issues action days as a way to reduce pollution and protect vulnerable populations. When pollution levels peak, vulnerable populations are urged to limit physical exertion to reduce risks to their health.
“The climate disruption we are experiencing intensifies the atmospheric conditions for the formation of smog, soot and other harmful air pollution,” said Brad van Guilder with Sierra Club.
“We get a double benefit from reducing carbon pollution by reducing the traditional harmful air pollution and the greenhouse gases that worsen their public health impacts.”
Other parts of the state also experienced a high number of air quality action days this year.
– Grand Rapids experienced 25 air quality action days in 2012, which smashed the previous record set by the region of 20 action days in 1999.
– There were 21 air quality action days issued in the Detroit-Ann Arbor region in 2012. That compares to 25 action days in 1995.
– Ludington experienced 18 air quality action days in 2012, after seeing five action days issued last year.