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Upstate scrambles for clean air

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Clock ticks as Upstate scrambles to clean air

By Paul Alongi | STAFF WRITER | The Greenville News

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You will spend less time idling at stoplights and have an easier time carpooling if a state plan aimed at cutting air pollution lives up to expectations.

The state will have exactly three years from Friday to meet federal air quality standards or face burning bans, the loss of federal highway dollars and tough regulations that could scare away businesses.

The plan to reduce ozone, the main ingredient in smog, must be sent to the Environmental Protection Agency this week. Anyone who hopes to drive, find a job or breathe clean air in the Upstate has a stake in the plan's effectiveness.

You may have already felt the fallout of high ozone levels if you have ever had itchy eyes or a coughing fit in the summer. Greenville allergist Emmanuel Sarmiento said ozone is toxic to the lining of your airways and is especially harmful to people with respiratory ailments, such as asthma.

"Even normal people will have problems with this if it's too high," he said.

Ozone forms when sunlight and heat cook chemicals belched from vehicles and industrial plants. In most urban areas, about half the ozone can be traced to vehicles, according to the EPA.

Scientists have linked the pollution to higher mortality rates, according to a study published in November in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Much of the Upstate's ozone-reduction plan focuses on one primary goal

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I think this is an important article because the Upstate is being forced to realize that we have a problem. Not so much the air (although that is part of it) but the reason behind the air: sprawl. Our sprawling cities and the need to drive long distances are why we have so much pollution.

Here is an interesting list:

Areas with the most sprawl

1. Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.

2. Greensboro-Winston-Salem- High Point, N.C.

3. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

4. Atlanta

5. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.

6. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-

Delray Beach, Fla.

7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Danbury, Conn.

8. Knoxville, Tenn.

9. Oxnard-Ventura, Calif.

10. Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

Does anyone else see a problem here? The GSP Area was (in the old census definitions) around the 52nd largest metro area in the Nation. Now since it has been split up, the official numbers might be different, but the facts are still the same. GSP is nowhere near Atlanta's or West Palm Beach's size, and yet we have the 5th worst sprawl in America. That's not somehting to brag about. This article shows some of the reprocussions of it. The only problem I have is that they are making strains to get people where they need to go faster rather than encourange them to live closer to where they need to go.

Just for your info, here is another list:

Cities with the least sprawl

1. New York

2. Jersey City, N.J.

3. Providence

4. San Francisco

5. Honolulu

6. Omaha, Neb.

7. Boston

8. Portland, Ore.

9. Miami

10. New Orleans

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For the many people living in our nation's bigger cities who don't pay attention to these important issues, this article is very revealing. I believe that much of our pollution is caused by a backup of polluted air from Atlanta that is being caught in a pocket just behind the Appalachain Mts. We are protected many times from severe weather here because of the high topography to the west and north, but sometimes you can see how it causes unwanted environmental results.

Sprawl... :angry: Enough said for now! <_<

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