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kayman

Greater Birmingham Air Quality

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Birmingham area among worst in particle pollution

According to the Lung Association, particle pollution is dangerous and can shorten life by one to three years. It causes other health effects, from premature births to serious respiratory disorders, even when the particle levels are low. It makes asthma worse and causes wheezing, coughing and respiratory irritation in anyone with sensitive airways. It also triggers heart attacks, strokes, irregular heartbeat and premature death, according to the Lung Association.

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Part of this is a factor of the beautiful lay of the land we have around here. Much of our community (especially Birmingham), lies in a valley. In the summer, air around these parts is particularly still. The fact of us being in a valley, in combination with still air and lots of heat really makes our air quality quite poor in the summer months in particular. There's really not alot we can do about that. I do agree that mass transit would certainly help the issues, but it would by no means solve the problem. I do think another good sign is that one of our big power plants nearby (on the Walker Co-Jefferson Co line) has recently converted dated technology into clean technology that will greatly reduce carbon emisions from that site.

I think we can take small steps over time to try to improve this, but ultimately, there's not a whole lot we can do to change this over night. Quite frankly, even before all the industry here, the area around here probably had poor air quality because of the lay of the land and hot, still summers. If we were along the coast or somewhere and had those constant breezes, pollution wouldn't be nearly the problem it is here. So that's why our beautiful topography that everyone loves so much is both a blessing and a curse in this respect.

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Here's an excellent bit of news. Finally, the City of Birmingham is in a leading position. Today, Mayor Kincaid announced that all city vehicles (some 600 of them) will now be fueled with an environmentally-friendly biodiesel fuel. It not only helps show the city is onboard with some of these progressive ideas and is being proactive, but is an active measure to help improve the air quality of this region (something which is desperately needed). It may just be 600 vehicles, but I think it's a major step.

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cullman may statistically be linked with the bham metro and the attendant poor air quality, but it is not topographically linked. the air quality in cullman county, unless you live near a chicken house, is good - about as good as you would expect to find in any other largely rural county lacking in industrial pollution. cullman county lies on the cumberland plateau, an upland area that does not typically receive weather coming up from the immediate south. bham's pollution, when it moves at all, goes northeast, following the valleys of the appalachian foothills - basically the same direction as the roads go through those parts.

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What is everybody on here doing to try reduce bad air quality?

I am asking this because I'm wondering how many people on the board does on a daily to reduce the area's bad quality. Do you use the MAX or DART? You walk more, drive less, or try moving in closer to your employer?

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I'll start first. I'm trying to not drive as much, and when the opportunity arises, I carpool with a friend or relative if we are going to the same destination. If I do have to make neccessary trips, I try all my errands in one trip. At the moment, I'm outside of the immediate Birmingham, so I can't use the MAX or DART.

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We may have a lot of green space but.... I thought I heard this on the radio yesterday..

The most polluted cities, according to the short-term particle pollution measure are:

1. Pittsburgh - New Castle, PA

2. Los Angeles - Long Beach - Riverside, CA

3. Fresno - Madera, CA

4. Bakersfield, CA

5. Birmingham - Hoover - Cullman, AL

6. Logan, UT - ID

7. Salt Lake City - Ogden - Clearfield, UT

8. Sacramento - Arden - Arcade - Yuba City, CA - NV

9. Detroit - Warren - Flint, MI

10. Washington - Baltimore - Northern Virginia, DC - MD - VA - WV

The most polluted cities, by year-round particle pollution:

1. Los Angeles - Long Beach - Riverside, CA

2. Pittsburgh - New Castle, PA

3. Bakersfield, CA

4. Birmingham - Hoover - Cullman, AL

5. Visalia - Porterville, CA

6. Atlanta - Sandy Springs - Gainesville, GA - AL

7. Cincinnati - Middletown - Wilmington, OH - KY - IN

8. Fresno - Madera, CA

8. Hanford - Corcoran, CA

8. Detroit - Warren - Flint, MI

8. Cleveland - Akron - Elyria, OH

California... a state known for it's enviormental awareness :thumbsup:

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It is a shame we are still rank as one of the nation's most polluted cities. Just another reason why we need to seriously get our acts together on getting a functional regional mass transit system, as soon as possible.

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It is a shame we are still rank as one of the nation's most polluted cities. Just another reason why we need to seriously get our acts together on getting a functional regional mass transit system, as soon as possible.

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I do concur that one of the reasons why this region has persistent air pollution issues is its more associated with the terrain. Just look at most of those cities on that first list, very rough terrained cities.

However, I don't think the traffic problems can be blamed enoughly on people having to use the area freeways. It is also the fact this region is just not accustomed to such a massive population because when the road network was laid out it was basically created to have a way for a person to get and from some of these isolated communities in Central Alabama back to a main road. Another thing the area's most heavily travelled freeway, I-65, hasn't been expanded since the early 90's from 4-lane to its current 6-lane set up. ALDOT's lack of ability to keep the area's transportation infastructure up to par is more at fault than anybody else.

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I do concur that one of the reasons why this region has persistent air pollution issues is its more associated with the terrain. Just look at most of those cities on that first list, very rough terrained cities.

However, I don't think the traffic problems can be blamed enoughly on people having to use the area freeways. It is also the fact this region is just not accustomed to such a massive population because when the road network was laid out it was basically created to have a way for a person to get and from some of these isolated communities in Central Alabama back to a main road. Another thing the area's most heavily travelled freeway, I-65, hasn't been expanded since the early 90's from 4-lane to its current 6-lane set up. ALDOT's lack of ability to keep the area's transportation infastructure up to par is more at fault than anybody else.

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All you need to do is look to Atlanta to see that adding more lanes and building more roads does not alleviate traffic, it simply creates more, and thus more pollution. As gas prices continue to rise (and up is the only direction prices will go in the future) now is the time for all cities, including Birmingham, to look to build and/or expand transit.

Someone there should be taking a close look at all those rail lines that converge in downtown Birmingham and see where they go. In many cases, it's to various suburbs commuters are driving from and to already; commuter rail could be a significant part of the solution.

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I understand building more roads are not the answer at all. However, if we are to finally able to create the express bus lanes then freeways like I-65 will have to fixed. Yeah, I mentioned some about how a number of the rail lines in this region do go to some suburbs, but US 280 corridor would the ultimate challenge because it is the most congested roadway with no rail line nearby. Commuter rail would definitely work here, but US 280 is 1 corridor in question.

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