A Reminder About Why We Care About Air Pollution

Headlines in the last week talk about the record levels of air pollution in Beijing. There is a nice article today in Discovery about how not only can air pollution cause significant human health effects, but can also affect plants, and air and water quality in distant locations.

This is a reminder of and reminiscent of many air pollution episodes that happened in the US of similar severity up to the 1970’s when environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act kicked in.  Perhaps the most severe and notorious of these was a 1948 incident in Donora, Pennsylvania.  It is unfortunate that developing countries have not learned from the mistakes in developed countries in avoiding massive environmental degradation in the name of so-called development.

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(Image from National Library of Medicine)

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