Saturday, May 03, 2008

State of the Air Report: We're Barely Passing

Spring semester is nearly over, I keep reminding myself as I've been frantically grading final exams and papers. So the issue of doling and receiving grades has been on many people's minds, which is why I was displeased to hear this report on NPR two days ago.

The American Lung Association released their State of the Air report. In terms of particle pollution, we are passing with a D. In terms of high ozone days, we are passing with a C. People with cardiovascular difficulties, asthma, and diabetes are particularly vulnerable to air pollution in St. Joseph county.

These grades suggest there's plenty of room for improvement. (Of course, this comes from someone who as a life-long student, was obsessed with getting straight-A's, so I'm particularly disappointed with this outcome.)

When I first moved to South Bend, I was puzzled by a weird "bar" smell I occassionally whiffed. My neighbor told me it was from an ethanol plant. To this day, I still don't know where this plant is exactly located, but if the wind blows in just the right direction, I can smell it. Besides biking, what are some ways we can reduce air pollution to improve this dismal report card?

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