2010 March 6: CA San Bernardino: Air quality in Inland Empire better but not ideal
Air quality in the Inland Empire has come a long way, but experts agree that more needs to be done. The region is still ranked as one of the worst air qualities in the nation, said Sam Atwood, spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Wind patterns and the way smog forms over the Inland Empire are reasons why the air quality is poor, Atwood said.
"The two pollutants that we’re most concerned about tend to reach their highest levels in the Inland Empire and even up into the San Bernardino Mountains," he said.
Ground level ozone and fine particulates are two pollutants the SCAQMD have focused on reducing.
"The ports are certainly the largest single fixed area source of pollution, but it really everything that contributes from all the cars and all the trucks on the road and ships, trains and aircraft off the highways and consumer products," Atwood said.
Air quality in the region has gotten much better over the years due to various regulations and technological advances, Atwood said.
"It’s been because of both aggressive and innovative air pollution controls on just about every source of pollutions that you can imagine," Atwood said. "Of course, the cars that we drive today are at least a thousand times cleaner than the cars we drove in the early 1960s."
Businesses and industries have become cleaner and consumer products are less polluting.
"We’re finally starting to
see reductions that are coming online or will be coming online in the next couple of years for things such as ships, locomotives and construction," Atwood said. "Which are all very large sources of pollution and until recently were pretty unregulated."
Health effects associated with air pollution – Increased mortality
– Increased health care utilization
– Increased respiratory illness
– Decreased lung function
– Lung inflammation
– Potential immunological changes
– Decreased tolerance of exercise
SOURCE: South Coast Air Quality Management District