Los Angeles’ poor air quality reflected in report

Amy Alcantara
Staff Writer 

Los Angeles received an F grade in the 2023 “State of the Air” annual report. The failing grade is due to the bad air quality in the region. 

The American Lung Association collects air quality data that measures ozone and particle pollution. These reports use data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality System. They also work with Allen S. Lefohn, A.S.L. & Associates, members of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies and the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies.

According to the Key Findings of the American Lung Association, 119.6 million Americans live in cities or counties with unhealthy pollution levels.

The Health Impact of Pollution states that ozone and particle pollution can negatively impact people. Air pollution can lead to respiratory health issues such as wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks that could worsen lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It can also cause premature births, death, metabolic disorders, heart attacks, strokes and impaired cognitive functioning. 

John Swanton, Air Pollution Specialist at the California Resources Board, said California is continuing to reduce the sources of pollution. He said CARB is dealing with moving toward zero-emission locomotives and trucks. 

“Those are going to have a big impact because they are two of the largest sources of emissions that drive that ozone number,” Swanton said.

Swanton said continuing to address sources that cause pollution is critical to see changes. He said people should be aware that air pollution affects everybody. 

Efrain Ruiz, a junior kinesiology major student at Cal Poly Pomona, said he was not surprised to hear about the failing grade. He said he believes there are ways people can help improve things.

“Get involved with your governor or local officials who are trying to pass bills and laws to create a better environment,” Ruiz said.

He said that although he is not involved in community service or clubs now, he plans to start once his semester ends.

“I’ve thought about joining a cause that’s already up and running to help the environment,” Ruiz said.

Jayleen De La Cruz, freshman public relations major, said she is not surprised about the failing grade in Los Angeles. She said California is known for its Hollywood lifestyle and famous people.

“On the negative side, L.A. does not have the best air quality, and I don’t think there’s a lot of awareness,” De La Cruz said.

She said it is concerning because Los Angeles is one of the biggest school districts, and unhealthy air could harm children. 

Grace Pollock, freshman biology major, said she was not aware of the F grade Los Angeles received. She said she had just watched a video in one of her classes about climate change and how it is ruining the planet.

“It’s something that affects everyone,” Pollock said. “I feel like I should be doing something about it.”

She said she was concerned and disappointed to hear about the failing grade. Pollock said she tries to carpool whenever she can and hopes that helps the environment in a way.

Swanton said that although no one big thing will change this, people can do little things to help reduce pollution. He said whether it is the way people cook, taking a bike or electric scooter instead of starting up a car, it could make a slight difference.

“When you walk, you get exercise, and you help,” Swanton said. “All these little things add up.”

Amy Alcantara can be reached at amairani.alcantaramontes@laverne.edu

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