Bad Air

Smog Pollution Threatens National Parks




The nonprofit Sierra Club is waging a fundraising campaign to protect U.S. national parks from the effects of power plants burning dirty coal. Executive Director Michael Brune reports, “Nearly one-third of all national parks exceed pollution safety levels.” To date, the club has been successful in stopping construction of 160 coal-fired plants.

Natural Resources Defense Council (nrdc.org) analyses show that not only cities, but seaside suburbs and rural areas as well, are reporting health-threatening “bad air days” during the summer due to smog pollution.

Some 250 communities and parks in nearly 40 states, led by California, routinely experience one or more “code orange” dangerous air days, deemed unsafe for children, older adults and those with breathing problems to be outside. More than 2,000 air quality alerts occurred nationwide in the first seven months of 2011, with many areas having long periods of days marred by elevated smog levels.

The push for cleaner air comes amid ongoing Environmental Protection Agency delays in approving updated air pollution standards, which the council notes could annually save thousands of American lives and eliminate tens of thousands of asthma attacks.

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