Tag Archives: global warming

Environmental Disaster Showdown: Gulf Oil vs. Air Pollution

Gulf Oil vs. Air Pollution
Gary Polakovic, a former environmental writer for the Los Angeles Times, recently published a very worthy commentary comparing the Gulf oil disaster to air pollution. You can read it here. Basically, he is making the point that people are (rightly) upset about the gulf disaster, but are not as concerned as they should be about air pollution; a more widespread and long-term problem. Air pollution is an environmental disaster far worse than the Gulf oil disaster. Even when BP has stopped the oil from leaking, we are still polluting the air.

Here are just a few statistics that Gary uses to illustrate his point:

  • “It takes the Los Angeles region less than two days to match the pollution the Deepwater Horizon blowout produces in one.”
  • “Worst-case estimates place the total oil spilled in the gulf at about 126 million gallons over two months. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the country disgorges that much hydrocarbon pollution to the air in 10 days.”

    I wanted to echo Gary’s sentiment because this issue is at the core of my work everyday at the Clean Air Council. The U.S. and the world need to recognize just how much damage we are doing to our own health (increasing rates of pollution related diseases: asthma, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc), the health of our children and grandchildren, and the extent to which we are jeopardizing the future of the human race.

    *The World Health Organization estimates that 20 million people die prematurely due to air pollution. – Article on air pollution increasing in developing countries.

    Public Health, Air Pollution and Global Warming

    interconnected issues
    The Lancet is currently featuring a new research and publication series that examines public health and global warming. There is still disagreement on whether or not global warming exists, and if it does, whether or not it is caused by human activity. As that argument has persisted concerns about how human activity impacts our immediate health has come to the forefront.

    The same types of air pollution that are believed to cause global warming are known to cause and exacerbate diseases like asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer. If governments are dragging their heels in disbelief about global warming maybe they need to take a look at the current rates of these diseases and the economic health costs associated with air pollution. Asthma alone is estimated to cost the U.S. $18 Billion, annually.

    Reducing air pollution will not only help prevent climate change, but has an almost immediate positive impact on the health and well being of the entire human race, and reduces the economic burden accrued from pollution-related diseases. The public health benefits garnered from reducing air pollution are just as relevant as keeping the planet healthy. Even if you don’t believe in man-made global warming there are still plenty of reasons to reduce our energy consumption and emissions.

    Onwards, to the future!