- Worrying report: In 2016, Las Vegas had 145 days of poor air quality as stated in the report by the Environment Nevada Research and Policy Center. Almost as bad was the situation in Los Angeles with 138 days when air quality was health-threatening throughout the year.
Where are we supposed to kick off from here? Woefully, the U.S. is facing severe air pollution levels and efforts to solve the situation in the most problematic states seem to be futile when looking at the bigger picture. What’s even more disturbing is the effect had on citizens, as well as wildlife and plants for that matter as pollution comes in all forms, not only from the air. From increase in pulmonary diseases and afflictions caused by a poor immune system in humans, to the decimation of animals and the untimely wilting of plants, we are faced with the inevitable repercussions of our past and present actions that disregarded the pollution topic.
- The American Lung Association report backs previous findings: When the ALA released its annual air quality report that covers data collected from 2015 to 2017, three of the hottest years in recorded global history, the aforementioned report received backing as Las Vegas was ranked the 13th metropolitan area in the ozone pollution department.
In contrast with the 2018 report, Las Vegas did indeed see an improvement in year-round particle pollution levels, but the same cannot be said in regards to ozone as there have been more days with dangerously high ozone levels.
Where does this spike stem from? Clark County air officials as well as the American Lung Association agree that a huge effect was had by the local climates being warmer than previous years. There is the issue of wildfire smoke drifting from California and other neighboring regions as well. Nevertheless, even if local authorities and residents aren’t at major fault for the issue at hand, there are improvements that can be made not only by officials, but by people as well, simple adjustments in their daily lives definitely directing the situation toward a decrease in pollution next year if applied.
Lessons from the National Air Quality Awareness Week
During the aforementioned event, the Clark County Department of Air Quality raised awareness regarding pollution issues and informed citizens on how they can help reduce ozone formation at ground level, as well as provide methods to limit their exposure to the health-threatening pollutant.
A lot of the advice focuses on vehicles and driving habits, officials recommending that residents combine errands into one trip when possible to reduce driving, that they don’t idle the car engine when it isn’t needed, that they keep vehicles well maintained to not eliminate even more harmful gasses into the air, and that they try to use mass transit or carpool.
Residents were advised to try and be less active outdoors when ozone levels are elevated, especially those who suffer from a respiratory disease or who are engaged in physically demanding activities, and it was suggested that outdoor activities be scheduled in the morning or evening when possible as ozone levels are lower then.
Ozone pollution is no joking matter as it is harmful for all individuals, but especially dangerous for children, older adults, and people who suffer from asthma and other lung diseases. For Las Vegas residents who fit this unfortunate pattern, the high ozone pollution that has likely protruded indoors makes it reckless to continue from this point on without air purification units specialized in ozone reduction and overall contaminant removal for that matter, their homes and offices, places where people spend most of their time, requiring to meet healthy air levels to keep serious afflictions and complications at bay.
Excess heat has caused a lot of problems in the past years, the aforementioned issue with local climates being warmer putting valley residents in even bigger danger. To tackle both high heat and air pollution effectively, it is advised to use air conditioning systems that feature filtration and dehumidification to upkeep proper indoor conditions on all fronts as the effects of heat and high humidity are just as harmful on human health as poor air quality is.
What can ultimately be done to solve air pollution in Las Vegas?
Each person can fix indoor air pollution more or less, depending on resources and knowledge on the issue, but it’s the effect that residents have on outdoor pollution that matters most as this is where all the problems stem from. Besides the vehicle and driving habits advice people were given, there are a few more courses of action that can actively help in solving the issue:
- Turn the lights and electronics off when not in use to reduce the amount of fuel burned at power plants;
- Consider sustainable gardening and landscaping, or at least reduce water waste and use of gas-powered equipment when tending to these activities.
A wise course of action on the part of officials would be to join others and ban the use of gasoline-powered and motorized lawn and gardening equipment as it would considerably reduce pollution.
As Las Vegas continues to grow, which means more cars are on the roads, possibly more gas-based tools are used, and so forth, special attention must be given to this topic. Air quality reports have never been kind to the valley but it is high time for drastic changes to occur for the sake of citizens’ health.
Major strides have indeed been made over the past three decades, vehicle emissions lowering considerably, but there is still room for improvement, and raising awareness is the only way to reach more people and have active support from as many directions as possible to solve the situation and maybe see Las Vegas in the safe zone for once when it comes to the topic of air pollution.