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Subject: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: bookmistress4ever on 12/10/15 at 12:00 am

Beijing, China has been in the news lately because of the thick smog over the city.  Here is a satellite photo of it which I found interesting.

http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/WrCoygSE3D99vV33u7Oi2w--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3NfbGVnbztmaT1maWxsO2g9MzgzO3B5b2ZmPTA7cT03NTt3PTU3NQ--/http://media.zenfs.com/en_US/News/LiveScience.com/China_Haze.jpg1449527393
https://sp.yimg.com/xj/th?id=OIP.M0c9f3280c3671fc0e932c4fe5a9fcc03H0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300

There are many causes for smog (in general), I think Los Angeles had problems with smog in the 80s, until they required emmisions inspections/controls on cars.  While these inspections can be costly and crippling for people that are "just getting by", I don't necessarily think they should be lessened.

https://sp.yimg.com/xj/th?id=OIP.M75733c7b6e4e5d25497c2f70bfbc160dH0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300
June 4, 2013
Los Angeles air pollution declining, losing its sting

south-coast-map_small.jpg

South Coast Air Basin. The air in the Los Angeles region has lost some of its “sting,” according to a new CIRES-led study. Regulations to reduce emissions have affected chemical processes in the atmosphere, decreasing levels of an eye irritant called peroxyacetyl nitrate. Credit: CIRES and Google Maps.

The cleanup of California’s tailpipe emissions over the last few decades has not only reduced ozone pollution in the Los Angeles area. It has also altered the pollution chemistry in the atmosphere, making the eye-stinging “organic nitrate” component of air pollution plummet, according to a new study led by a scientist from NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder.

For the study, accepted last month for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, the scientists analyzed new data from research aircraft along with archived data going back a half-century to produce a comprehensive study of air pollution in the Los Angeles region.

“This is good news: LA’s air has lost a lot of its ‘sting,’” said lead author Ilana Pollack, a CIRES scientist who works at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. “Our study shows exactly how that happened, and confirms that California’s policies to control emissions have worked as intended.”



Heck, even the city I live in, Pittsburgh, has cleaned up it's act over the past few decades (mostly, unfortunately, because the steel mills have mostly closed) but it is easier to breath.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2pgZWBPplCg/Va2DF8-GZ-I/AAAAAAAAkGI/c46QVfbqmNw/s500-Ic42/Pittsburgh_Smog.jpghttp://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/science/downtown.jpeg

Apparently, St. Louis, Missouri had problems in 1939, something called "Black Tuesday", more or less encompanying the soft coal burning by residents and businesses, thereby causing the thick smoke.
http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/stltoday.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/69/f696f498-f5c7-11df-8249-00127992bc8b/4ce9acaad00eb.preview-1024.jpg?resize=620%2C831

My area that I grew up in (rural Ohio) was mostly known for mining this type of soft coal, and since the regulations about burning this type of coal (the electric plants had to install what is called "scrubbers" that elimated the pollution that burning the coal caused.) Most of the coal mines closed, putting our area into an economic crises that it still hasn't recovered from, 35 years later.

So, what's the point of this post?  I don't really know, just came across the Beijing satellite photo and thought it was interesting.  What's the ultimate solution?  Compromise?  But how so?  At what cost?  There are smarter people then me trying to work this problem, and still been stymied.  :(



Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: Foo Bar on 12/10/15 at 11:31 pm


My area that I grew up in (rural Ohio) was mostly known for mining this type of soft coal, and since the regulations about burning this type of coal (the electric plants had to install what is called "scrubbers" that elimated the pollution that burning the coal caused.) Most of the coal mines closed, putting our area into an economic crises that it still hasn't recovered from, 35 years later.

So, what's the point of this post?  I don't really know, just came across the Beijing satellite photo and thought it was interesting.  What's the ultimate solution?  Compromise?  But how so?  At what cost?  There are smarter people then me trying to work this problem, and still been stymied.  :(


If you want to breathe, use more efficient energy sources.  Even if that means losing your job, sending your kids out of the area, or moving  your entire family out of the area to where the jobs are. 

If you just want a few more years squeezing a few more bucks out of inefficient technologies before you move to the better ones, oppose the scrubbers until all the fish in all the acidic lakes downwind of you are dead... and then install the scrubbers and continue to use less efficient energy sources while continuing to extract your salary (whether you're a CEO trying to earn your bonus -- kill 29 people, but hey, who cares? -- or mineworker loading sixteen tons just to get another day older and deeper in debt to... the more I read, the more I think this Blankenship dude was a total douche), even if it means nobody downwind of you can breathe. 

Speaking of breathing.  Here's an oil story for you:

https://prosperitysaskatchewan.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/bakken-from-space.png

I'm no environmentalist.  But I like to breathe.  When oil's over $50, fracking and marginal wells are viable.  Natural gas got produced in such abundance as a side effect of the fracking boom that it was cheaper to burn it in such quantities that the flares were visible from space... when even the cheap energy is that cheap, coal has a pretty insurmountable problem competing with that.

The evidence overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that man-made increases in the level of CO2 are real, and that this increase is responsible for the increase in global temperatures.  With oil collapsing as OPEC has decided it can outdrill the US (and the US being just fine with this because cheap oil and gas does more damage to the Russians - screwing ISIS over hard is just a happy bonus!), the oil and gas in the Bakken can stay underground until it's needed. 

I realize that sucks if you're in Ohio and are still in large part dependent on coal.  Buggy-whip manufacturers could learn to turn wrenches with a year's training.  But coal miners probably aren't going to become web developers; hammering on a keyboard ain't like hammering against rock.  And my world is already awash with webdevs who can more pull their asses from holes in the ground than I can pull energy in the form of coal or oil from layers of silicates.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: bookmistress4ever on 12/10/15 at 11:58 pm


If you want to breathe, use more efficient energy sources.  Even if that means losing your job, sending your kids out of the area, or moving  your entire family out of the area to where the jobs are. 



Which is exactly what I and many of my classmates (and other graduates from years since) have done in my area.  It is sad to see my hometown die a slow, agonizing, soul-sucking death, but that is the consequences.
Oprah even came to our town to do her show in 1989 in my high school basketball court/gymnasium, about the plight of the "rust belt".  A fat long of good it did, an Atlantic City casino came in and offered jobs for those young people that wanted to move to Atlantic City (and several did.)  Nothing much happened to keep people in Ohio.  You just have to follow the jobs.  Now the city has lost enough people that it barely qualifies as a village now.  And I think the congressional district had to be combined with another neighboring county to justify having a state congressperson.  All of the "smart" people moving out, has unfortunately left mostly people who are bigoted and/or uneducated (with atrosiously bad grammar and spelling and poor attitudes.)  (Not that I am any better with spelling, but you get the point that I'm trying to make.)  Now comes the "wave" of "strangers" moving into town because of the oil and gas well miners (that will move on to the next town as they finish setting up the wells.)  And the drug problem that didn't seem as prevelant (but probably was back when I went to school there - you just didn't hear about it.) is making daily news about the crime and overdoses and such.  The town barely has a pulse.


I realize that sucks if you're in Ohio and are still in large part dependent on coal.  Buggy-whip manufacturers could learn to turn wrenches with a year's training.  But coal miners probably aren't going to become web developers; hammering on a keyboard ain't like hammering against rock.  And my world is already awash with webdevs who can more pull their asses from holes in the ground than I can pull energy in the form of coal or oil from layers of silicates.


And that there is the rub.  Coal mining does require at least some smarts, and some do retrain in another industry (i.e. computers) when they get "laid off" i.e. let go because the company isn't making enough profit to keep the mine running 24/7. 
One of the saving graces, I suppose, is motion pictures that come into town to film on occasion.  Silence of the lambs filmed some there, as did Unstoppable and some other one I can't think the name of now.  People (extras) work cheaply for craft table benefits and the union wages. 

It'd be nice if some other industry (other then a casino that opened up a few years ago) could go in and "save" the town and surrounding comminities, but I don't see it happening.  And that sucks, but whatcha gonna do?

Thanks for responding to my post, I was debating if it were even interesting or kosher to post it and was debating erasing it, when you responded.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: Foo Bar on 12/11/15 at 12:13 am


And that there is the rub.  Coal mining does require at least some smarts, and some do retrain in another industry (i.e. computers) when they get "laid off" i.e. let go because the company isn't making enough profit to keep the mine running 24/7. 


Thanks for leaving it up.  We go through the same thing in tech, except that the difference between "buggy-whip" and "Model T automobile" and "Tesla Model S" happens every 3-5 years.  Computers were either things that took up entire floors of buildings and if you were lucky you got to sit at a termina connected to one, or they were dinky little things that bored ham radio operators tinkered with, then they replaced the secretarial pool and video game console, then they fit in your pocket, and nobody knows if the next move is whether the things in your pocket do the computing or the world goes back to the idea that computers are things that take up entire buildings, and the thing in your pocket or desk just asks politely for some help from the mothership.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: bookmistress4ever on 12/11/15 at 1:25 am


Thanks for leaving it up.  We go through the same thing in tech, except that the difference between "buggy-whip" and "Model T automobile" and "Tesla Model S" happens every 3-5 years.  Computers were either things that took up entire floors of buildings and if you were lucky you got to sit at a termina connected to one, or they were dinky little things that bored ham radio operators tinkered with, then they replaced the secretarial pool and video game console, then they fit in your pocket, and nobody knows if the next move is whether the things in your pocket do the computing or the world goes back to the idea that computers are things that take up entire buildings, and the thing in your pocket or desk just asks politely for some help from the mothership.


But then, not too many people object to the updates and advances that happen in tech industry, or at least, I doubt it has much environmental issues to deal with.  Maybe socio-economic issues, but that's on society as a whole (those that aren't open to learning the new technology get left behind.)  My dad calls me everytime he wants something looked up on the computer or an application put in because the company requires it to be submitted electronically.  I'm *trying* to teach them to be more forward-thinking, I'm giving them my old desktop (I mainly use my laptop now, besides you can't easily take a desktop overseas in your luggage.  ;) ;D  Hubby and I are leaving in a month to retire in Asia.)  I have taught them to text and take selfies, so there is hope.  ;D 

Sorry I seem to write in a stream of consciousness style, with no real overall theme apparently.  I guess I am stuck between being loyal to the old ways/old industries/way of life that I was raised with and realizing that times have to change, they always do, and wonder what I can do to make it easier for the ones that I love and/or the acquaintances that went to school with 30 years ago, if there IS actually anything I could do.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: apollonia1986 on 12/11/15 at 1:12 pm

Where I was born and raised (and still currently live) in Southeast Texas it is extremely common for alot of people to have breathing troubles: asthma, bronchitis. I was born with asthma and still currently suffer from it. And I know the air quality has something to do with it. (also my mom smoked the first 10 years of my life) Not directly in town but a few miles away in the boonie hick towns there are refineries for oil and things and every so often, it's literally hazy outside and the air can smell of anything from sulfur to smoke as the wind carries it from miles away.
You don't know how many times I've jumped out of bed and run around the house looking for fires because of the smoke smell. And it's something you can't use a humidifier or Glade sprays for you just have to wait it out.

Texas has just always been a magnet for creating pulmonary distress for it's people. My Daddy grew up during the Dustbowl and the odors from the refineries pale compared to it. He said the sky would get "black, black, black" and his mother would just kind of crouch with him and his siblings and just sit and wait until it settled. Also he was 20 years old when Texas City blew up in 1947, and though he and a buddy were MILES away fishing, he felt the ground shake from the tremendous boom and smelled smoke for quite a few days after.

I'm mostly scared of the Port of Beaumont down by the riverfront because we ALWAYS have military ships with live ammo hanging around there and I'm terrified one day something will go BOOM and wipe us off the map. Small fires have broken out but a fire department is within blocks of it.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: ArcticFox on 02/09/16 at 6:03 am

Air pollution and smog is pretty bad in big cities. Los Angeles especially had problems with it in the 20th century. It wasn't until the early 2000's that things started to improve. My friend went to Los Angeles last summer and she said the pollution was really off-putting, so it hasn't gone away.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: mqg96 on 02/09/16 at 6:53 am

Been to Savannah, GA many times, and that Paper Mill smoke has an awful smell!  8-P

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: yelimsexa on 02/09/16 at 12:54 pm

While you can never get rid of fog since it is a natural process, I have noticed even since the 1990s that pollution, thanks to improvements in technology both in manufacturing and in transportation (emission standards) has cut back on the smog, with the only time I notice it occurring from long-distance wildfires, once again a natural process. Its the newly developing countries (China, India, Korea, eastern Europe, parts of Latin America) where I tend to find this problem the worst due to the explosion in manufacturing. The earliest example of smog came from northern England in the 1800s and likely peaked in the West in the 1960s-1980s. I read somewhere that around 10% of all sunlight was blocked due to air pollution during its peak. I also notice how the number of "Code Red" days is noticeably less than it was 20, 15, even 10 years ago when watching weather reports as well.

Subject: Re: Smog (Smoke plus fog) i. e. Pollution in cities

Written By: bchris02 on 02/09/16 at 1:18 pm

The U.S. for the most part has got this under control.  Even though smog is sometimes still an issue in major cities, its nowhere near on the level that it used to be.  EPA regulations have worked and we are better off for it.

The third world however is currently undergoing their industrial revolution and they could care less about its impact on the environment.  Given issues like climate change, deforestation, species extinction, etc, I think its time for the entire world to come together to do something about this.  The planet cannot survive China, India, Africa, etc doing the same thing to their environment that the US did in the 20th century.

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