Air Pollution Problems in Beijing, Los Angeles, New York & Atlanta
When one thinks of air pollution, it’s typically thought of as a fossil fuel emissions problem. However, a recent study shows that microparticles from automobile brake pads and tires float in the air in cities around the world, negatively affecting the respiratory health of people living there.
Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) regularly note the link between air pollution and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. For example, air quality in China has been reported to lead to the premature deaths of more than 1 million Chinese per year in recent years
The study, carried out by Stefanie Sarnat at Emory University in Atlanta, found links between brake and tire dust and visits to emergency rooms for cardiovascular issues. In another study carried out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that focused on Europe, road transportation emissions accounted for 50% of negative health impacts from ambient air pollution.
Placing a Monetary Value on Impacts of Air Pollution
One of the big problems of fixing this type of problem is the difficulty and uncertainty in estimating health impacts from air pollution and calculating their costs. The European unions European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that outdoor pollution has led to more than 400,000 premature deaths annually in Europe.
In the United States, the Trump administration is rolling back what it believes are stifling regulations that have a dampening effect on economic vitality and growth. Around the world, pollution regulations typically set limits on how much air pollution can be emitted by a given company. Air pollution control permits are issued, and it’s up to local, state, regional, and national officials to make sure that permit holders are meeting, not exceeding their limits. When there is no oversight of companies that pollute, the record shows that companies typically cut corners when possible.
Organizations like the US Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health, the American Lung Association, and the United Nations have concluded that air pollution increases asthma, heart disease, and stroke while negatively affecting local ecosystems.
The following video, “American Lung Association Names Worst Cities in US for Air Pollution,” shows problems in the US.