Think the Bay Area’s got good air? Think again. The nine Bay Area counties* currently fail to meet state and federal public health standards for smog, soot, and fine particles. These types of air pollution can irritate the eyes and throat, trigger asthma attacks, and increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
State law requires districts that fail to meet smog standards to create smog-cleanup plans. As a result, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) created a 520-page plan with 57 possible measures to clean the Bay Area’s air, targeting everyone from dairy farmers and wineries to oil refineries and homebuilders.
Cleaning the Bay Area’s air would help a number of groups with asthma and other respiratory problems, but it would also prevent thousands of premature deaths a year associated with air pollution exposure.
According to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) November 2007 Report on air quality, “Health Effects of Particulate Matter and Ozone Air Pollution”:
Attaining the California PM and ozone standards would annually prevent about 8,800 premature deaths, or 3.7% of all deaths. These premature deaths shorten lives by an average of 14 years. This is greater than the same number of deaths (4,200 – 7,400) linked to second-hand smoke in the year 2000.
According to the Contra Costa Times, rather than adopt one plan per pollutant, BAAQMD is preparing “the first integrated plan of its kind in California to control smog, fine particles, greenhouse gases and toxic air contaminants.”
If you have questions or comments, share your input at upcoming public workshops on the Clean Air Plan:
- Santa Clara: 1:30 to 4:30 PM Wednesday April 7, Santa Clara City Council Chamber, 1500 Warburton Avenue
- Oakland: 1:30 to 4:30 PM Thursday April 8, Alameda County Administration Building, 2nd floor, Room 225, 1221 Oak Street
For more information:
- Read the BAAQMD 2010 Clean Air Plan (CAP) online.
- Read the Contra Costa Times article: Clean air plan targets industries from dairies to developers
*Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Napa County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, and Sonoma County