Fresno Air Quality
Despite increasingly aggressive fresh, clean air standards in many parts of the state, Fresno air quality is still lagging behind in terms of pollution, particularly, air pollution. This region is surrounded by mountain ranges and acts as a pool of emissions, trapped in the valley by warm air that comes from its roughly 3.5 million residents.
Fresno air quality is the some of the worst in the region. In addition, it is among the worst in the entire United States. This is greatly affecting the health of its residents. In this article, we share the sources, health implications, and mitigation of poor air quality in Fresno and the entire California Central Valley region
Sources of air pollution for Fresno County
There are various sources that contribute to poor air quality in Fresno. Some of the sources include;
- Ozone, also known as smog, is the main pollutant. The ground level ozone is formed when Oxides of Nitrogen and VOC emissions from vehicles, agricultural operations and industries combine. This reaction is facilitated by heat and sunlight. This makes the valley an optimal region for ozone formation, especially during summer.
- Carbon pollution from power plants, automobiles, and industries contribute to air pollution, though to a lesser extent; it throws in a warming climate facilitating ozone formation.
- Particulate matter such as smoke, soot, dust and other particles also contribute to air pollution.
Health implications due to Fresno Air Quality
The health-related costs of the Fresno air quality are estimated at $1.7 billion per year. This translates to $1,124 per person. The costs for the entire region are about $6 billion per year. This shows that Fresno accounts for almost a third of the region’s health-related costs due to poor air quality. This also implies that a lot of funds are being directed towards treating and controlling diseases that arise from the poor condition of Fresno air quality.
Fresno County is also known for attaining the highest rate of childhood asthma in the US. This is attributed to poor air quality that attacks membranes in the nose, lungs and sinuses triggering allergies and asthma.
Ozone has led to ailments such as lung inflammation, lung irritation, and exacerbation of asthma as well as other respiratory ailments. Ozone may also lead to premature death, developmental harm, reproductive harm, wheezing and coughing, and susceptibility to infections.
The fine particulate matter such as dust and smoke can easily go in and lodge within the lungs. This has led to asthma, cardiac problems, chronic bronchitis and premature deaths.
If no measures are taken to mitigate the emission of harmful gases in California Central Valley, we should expect more health hazards, more deaths, and Fresno would be a county that is totally unsafe to live in. Some measures that could be taken or enforced include;
- Congress should continue to support the Clean Air Act. This Act requires the EPA and each state to undertake steps in cleaning up the air and protecting public health by reducing air pollution. Congress should make sure that the act remains strong, implemented and enforced. The steps outlined in the Clean Air Act will reduce the volume of emissions released into the air, not only in the region, but also in other states.
- Carbon pollution from power plants should be reduced by the enforcing Clean Power Plans. The “Clean Power Plans” can reduce carbon levels by up to 32% by the year 2030. This can be done by improving energy efficiency and the use of cleaner sources of energy for existing utilities. Fresno can also partner with other counties to mutually reduce air pollution.
- The Central Valley should also continue to clean up emissions from heavy equipment and commercial diesel vehicles.
- California Central Valley should also monitor its air pollution network. This provides accurate measurement of the volume of air pollution in the region and help in planning of the reduction of air pollution.
Residents can also help in reducing air pollution by stepping up and speaking up for healthy air protections. They can consume less electricity by using energy-efficient appliances, drive less, and avoid burning trash or wood.
Emissions can be reduced and the health and living standards of Fresno residents can be improved. This will make Fresno County a more attractive place to live, attract more industries and also improve the overall economy of the region.
Poor air quality can trigger seasonal allergies and asthma attacks. The Baz Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center has 15 offices throughout the Central Valley and Bay Area to help patients treat allergies and manage asthma. Our allergists are expert in helping patients who suffer due to specific issues related to California’s air quality.