Air pollution makes for difficult breathing in south Valley

Monday, December 19, 2011 / 8:34 a.m.

Kern County-   The Valley A.I.R.* has issued an unhealthy air pollution alert this morning for most of the south Valley from Turlock to Bakersfield.  This is due to normal wintertime atmospheric conditions which mixes the emissions from diesel trucks and oil fields with massive amounts of ammonia from factory dairies.

Thousands of older, dirty diesel trucks are common year-round on the valley floor spewing diesel particulates and excessive NOx emissions.  The oil fields continue all winter to flare unwanted gases, plus they burn coal and other dirty fuels to produce steam for injection in hundreds of boilers.  Oil producers also dump millions of gallons of steaming and toxic “produced” water into hundreds of acres of open ponds daily.  Milk factories pump out their lagoons at this time of year which emits hundreds of tons of ammonia gas daily into the ground level wet haze covering the valley like a blanket this time of year.

Residents are urged to not exercise outdoors.  The elderly are especially susceptible.   Young people through age 18 should also not be playing sports like soccer outdoors during the worst episodes (all games should be scheduled for early afternoon when the air is sometimes a little better).

This alert is in effect until mid-February.  Only with the occasional storm passing through the area will there be brief periods of relief from this pollution.  At those times the entire population of the Central Valley is urged to go outside and breathe deeply.

*A.I.R. = Association of Irritated Residents

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One thought on “Air pollution makes for difficult breathing in south Valley

  1. According to the air district, the number one contributor to the PM 2.5’s in the cold months is wood smoke from residential fires. I have no doubt this is true in the Fresno/Clovis metro area where I reside. It is utterly beyond the resources of the air district to patrol entire cities, so they are almost completely dependant on citizens taking it upon themselves to squelch burning in their own neighborhoods (or anywhere else they happen to be) by reporting it to the air district.

    I urge more valley residents to act locally to see that the no burn rule is actually enforced. If more of us do not act, it absolutely will not be.

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