BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – A new report released by Environment Texas and Policy Center Tuesday detailed just how many days the Brazos Valley breathed in unhealthy air in 2020.
There were 40 days with elevated particulate matter in Bryan-College Station and a total of 309 days with some sort of particulate matter reported in the air. That means there were only 55 to 60 days where the air quality was considered free of any particles that may distress breathing or bother those with sensitive to common respiratory issues.
The report focused on particulate pollution, “which are harmful pollutants that come primarily from burning fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, gasoline, methane gas and from wildfires.” Ground-level ozone was not considered in this report for Bryan-College Station considering a monitor for the pollutant was not installed until 2021.
Brownsville led the top of the list for elevated pollution at 129 days, followed by El Paso (126 days), and Austin (103 days). Dallas had 72 days, Houston 96 days, and San Antonio 101 days.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND AIR POLLUTION ARE LINKED
Burning fossil fuels produces more than just health-threatening ozone and particulates – it also produces greenhouse gases that are warming our climate. Global warming is likely to make air pollution worse in the years to come.
- Higher temperatures, which a warmer climate will make more frequent, can increase ozone levels
- A warmer climate decreases air circulation, trapping pollution near the ground where it is most unhealthy
- A warmer climate will continue to increase the frequency and severity of wildfires. Western states have already seen an increase in burned land, along with longer burning fires that burn during more of the year than they did a few decades ago. Wildfire smoke is a major source of particulate pollution
The infrastructure bill that congress has been debating on passing over the past several weeks is said to try and “jumpstart cleaner transportation projects, including $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations.”
“Our future can truly be better and healthier if we clean up our air. Zeroing out pollution from all aspects of our lives will protect our lungs and our climate at the same time.”
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