STATE – New Jersey has some of the smoggiest air in the country, according to a report issued today by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center.
Studies show that on days with high concentrations of smog pollution in the air, children and adults suffer more asthma attacks, increased respiratory difficulty, and reduced lung function. Exposure to smog pollution can exacerbate respiratory illness and even cause premature death. Sensitive populations including children, the elderly, and people with respiratory illness are particularly at risk of the adverse health effects of air pollution.
The Garden State had 35 “smog days” in 2010 – only California, Maryland, Texas and Utah had more. The Philadelphia, Monmouth-Ocean, Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, and Trenton metropolitan areas all ranked in the top 25 for most “smog days” last year.
“This report shows that New Jersey has some of the worst air quality in the nation and not just in places you would expect like Camden or along the Turnpike but also Ocean and Monmouth counties,” said Jeff Tittel, director of New Jersey Sierra Club. “We have serious air pollution problems in areas that have plenty of trees and you don’t even see a smoke stack. Air pollution not only hurts our environment but puts our children at risk for asthma attacks and threatens the lives of people with respiratory diseases.”
The report calls for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to set stricter standards for ground-level ozone, as recommended unanimously by an independent board of experts under the Clean Air Act. The Obama administration delayed a decision on updating the standard until 2013.
“We are very troubled President Obama pulled down the smog rule that would not only protect the environment, but also public health. You cannot have a good economy without clean air. Holding up the smog rule will make air pollution worse, especially in New Jersey where one third of our air pollution comes from out of state,” Tittel said.
The report also calls for the development of cleaner and more efficient vehicles and the expansion of public transportation systems. It also recommends that state and federal governments take steps to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a clean, renewable energy economy.
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