Editorial: Something In The Air

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(Image by Nikola Belopitov from Pixabay)

It’s not often we get five letters-to-the-editor about the same topic with the same point of view. That’s what happened this past week when we received that many letters asking residents to encourage their legislators to support the Climate and Community Protection Act (Bill A10342). The CCPA, for short, is a piece of legislation that will cement existing climate goals into law and get New York on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

These letters were prompted by the 2019 State of the Air report which named Suffolk County the county in New York state with the worst air quality. Upon reading this, I immediately checked where Nassau County ranked on this list and as it turns out, no data was collected for Nassau. Though there is no hard data, it’s safe to assume our air quality is similar to that of our neighbor Suffolk. And that’s something we should all care about.

The report measured two types of pollution—ozone, the main component in smog, and particulates, the result of burning coal, wood, diesel, etc. Suffolk earned an A rating for particulates and an F rating for ozone. Unlike the good ozone in the stratosphere, ozone at the ground level is bad. It is created by the volatile emissions of cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries and chemical plants. Breathing pollutants can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly respiratory problems. People with asthma, children, the elderly and anyone who spends time being active outside are at the most risk from the effects of ozone exposure.

In addition a number of specific economic provisions, the CCPA will address Long Island’s ground-level ozone problem by establishing limits for and regulations to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is adversely affecting the health and well-being of the population and the environment and this legislation takes it seriously while offering attainable solutions.

Improving air quality is a nonpartisan issue since we all breathe the same air. Let’s all ask our legislators to vote for the CCPA. Then we can work on petitioning the governor and the EPA for an air quality monitor for Nassau County. Because what we don’t know is hurting us.

—Kimberly Dijkstra

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear from you! Send a letter to the editor to kdijkstra@antonmediagroup.com.

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