Long beach air quality

Long beach air quality DEFAULT
AQIAir Pollution LevelHealth ImplicationsCautionary Statement (for PM)0 - 50GoodAir quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no riskNone51 ModerateAir quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.Unhealthy for Sensitive GroupsMembers of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.UnhealthyEveryone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effectsActive children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertionVery UnhealthyHealth warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.+HazardousHealth alert: everyone may experience more serious health effectsEveryone should avoid all outdoor exertion
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Air quality in Long Beach

How bad is the air pollution in Long Beach?

Long Beach is a city found in the state of California, within the metropolitan area of Los Angeles. With a population of over thousand people, it is counted as the 43rd most populous city in the country, as well as the seventh most populous within the state itself. As a coastal city facing onto the North Pacific Ocean, Long Beach grew substantially as a seaside resort town, as well as having a prominent presence revolving around the oil industry, and possessing one of the busiest seaport's within the country. This seaport is also counted as one of the largest in the world, and still plays a substantial role in the economy of Long Beach till today, as well as having an impact on the quality of the air.

Regarding the pollution levels taking place within the city, Long Beach was recorded as having a PM reading of μg/m³ in , a fairly high reading that placed it into the ‘moderate’ pollution rating bracket, which requires a PM reading of anywhere between to μg/m³ to be classified as such. This indicates that the city of Long Beach is subject to some less than perfect levels of air quality, and could do much to improve its condition, with many months of the year rising to even higher levels that have far reaching consequences on the health of its citizens.

This reading of μg/m³ placed the city in th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, a considerably high ranking for U.S city. It also came in at th place out of all cities ranked in America, and as mentioned, could go a long way to improve its air pollution levels.

What causes polluted air in Long Beach?

Long Beach has several main causes of air pollution, with some of them being more long term and ‘ambient’ in nature, meaning that they are responsible for raised pollution readings throughout the year, whilst others are more acute in nature and are responsible for sudden spikes in the AQI, or air quality index. One of the main ones that sees the year round readings rise by considerable amounts is that of vehicular pollution. With a sizeable population coupled with many people commuting in and out of the city, there would be a large amount of subsequent exhaust fumes being released, with tens of thousands of cars and motorbikes on the road at any given time.

Furthermore, in regards to the movement of industrial items as well as food products, for both import and export, heavier duty vehicles are often required. These include ones such as trucks and lorries, and due to their great size and weight as well as running on diesel fuels, are also responsible for putting out even larger amounts of smoke and pollution, more so than a singular vehicle of a smaller size.

Regarding the large port site present in the city, a huge amount of pollution is also released from this area, with numerous ships docking at the port and releasing their own pollutants, as well as thousands of tons of cargo being transported from the ships to warehouses requiring excessive use of the aforementioned heavy duty vehicles. Other main sources include ones such as emissions from factories, power plants and other industrial areas, as well as construction sites and road repairs.

Who is most at risk from air pollution in Long Beach?

Whilst pollution has far reaching effects that can cause numerous adverse health conditions amongst all members of the population, it remains that there are certain groups that are considerably more at risk to air pollution, for a number of reasons usually pertaining to age, health and physical background.

Some members of these groups include people such as the elderly, young children, pregnant mothers, those with a sensitive disposition towards chemical exposure, as well as those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions, typically of the cardiac or pulmonary variety. Pregnant mothers find themselves in great danger of excessive pollution exposure, with instances of miscarriage, premature birth or babies born with a low birth weight all being possible. Children can also develop health issues or allergies that can subsequently turn into lifelong issues if not suitable addressed at an early stage.

When is the air quality at its worst in Long Beach?

Observing the data taken over the course of , there were many months of the year that showed elevated levels of PM in the air throughout Long Beach. In terms of time frame, it appears that the latter portion of the year is when the air quality was at its worst. June came in with a fairly respectable reading of 9 μg/m³, which was then followed by a jump up to μg/m³ in July, and then an even further leap to μg/m³ in August.

This reading of μg/m³ put July into the ‘good’ air quality ratings bracket, and August in the ‘moderate’ air pollution bracket with its reading of μg/m³. This continued for the rest of the year, with highs of μg/m³ and μg/m³ being reached in September and October, making them the most polluted months of the year (with September taking the top spot), as well as the surrounding months also displaying higher levels of PM in the air.

What are some of the main types of pollution found in Long Beach?

In reference to the main causes of pollution found occurring within Long Beach, there would be a large amount of related pollutants found in the air, with certain ones being far more prevalent. Ones that would be seen in larger quantities, typically emanating from vehicle and ship exhausts (as well as other combustion sites) would be ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Both are contributors to acid rain, and can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract as well as damage to the lung tissue. Nitrogen dioxide is released in large quantities from vehicle engines, whilst sulfur dioxide can be found more prevalently in fumes released from ships, due to the larger amounts of sulfur often found in ship fuels due to differences in fuel regulations.

Other prominent pollutants include ones such as ozone (O3), which can be formed when the various oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are exposed to solar radiation via sunlight (both found in abundance in Long Beach), which then convert to ozone, or smog as it is known when it accumulates in large enough amounts.

It is a vital component of the upper atmosphere, but a highly damaging pollutant when found at ground level. Other pollutants also include black carbon, fine silica and gravel particles, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOC's), some examples of which include chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride and xylene.

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‘Asthma Alley’: Long Beach ranks worst in U.S. for air quality

Long Beach, which sits between the two largest seaports in the country, has good air quality just 10% of the year. The stretch of Interstate that runs through Long Beach has been dubbed “Asthma Alley.” (Photo by Grayson Schmidt/Cronkite News)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – At least every other day, Selene Zazueta has to tell her 8-year-old daughter that she can&#;t play outside with her friends. As upsetting as that is, the girl has asthma, and the family lives just off Interstate in Long Beach, in an area known as &#;Asthma Alley.&#;

&#;It&#;s a nightmare,&#; Zazueta said.

The story of Zazueta, 38, and her daughters, Emma Mijares and Isabella Ramirez, 9, is just one such story of life in a city with the dirtiest air in the country.

Of the largest cities in the country, Long Beach comes in dead last in terms of air quality, according to the American Fitness Index rankings, published by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation, a nonprofit of the health insurance provider Anthem, Inc.

The city sits between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two largest ports in North America, according to the Journal of Commerce. Combined, the ports account for nearly 30% of the continent&#;s market share; in addition, most imports from Asia enter the country here, are loaded onto trains and tractor-trailer rigs and shipped to warehouses and factories all over the country.

Of the largest cities in the country, the top 10 with the worst air quality are in Arizona and California.

Zazueta&#;s story is a familiar one to Sylvia Betancourt, a project manager for the Long Beach Alliance for Children With Asthma. Families of children with severe asthma tell her they feel helpless against the effects of Long Beach&#;s poor air quality on a daily basis, she said.

&#;There&#;s nothing like describing that lived experience, in particular, with seeing your child not not be able to breathe,&#; Betancourt said.

Zazueta said she has seasonal allergies – as does her older daughter, Isabella – something she never experienced until moving to Long Beach 12 years ago. Shortly after Emma was born, Zazueta said, the family made frequent trips to the hospital, as night after night Emma would wake up gasping for air.

&#;At first I just thought it was a cold; I had never really heard of asthma,&#; Zazueta recalled. &#;It was not until I found (the Long Beach Alliance for Children With Asthma) that I fully realized what it was.&#;

Since , the alliance has worked in outreach and medical training to reduce the number of hospitalizations and school absences as a result of asthma. More than 25 million Americans have asthma, a long-term condition that intermittently inflames and narrows the airways of the lungs, causing shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Severe asthma attacks can lead to death.

&#;(They) all knew that asthma is a chronic illness,&#; Betancourt said, &#;and there are high risks involved, risk of even death, but it doesn&#;t have to be that way.&#;

To put the numbers into perspective, Norfolk, Virginia, residents enjoy good air quality 98% of the year, while Long Beach residents enjoy good air quality only 10% of the year. The average amount of good air quality for the cities is 62% of the year. The American Fitness Index study also said that geography, weather, automobile use and industrial emissions all play a role in a city&#;s air quality.

None of this surprises K. Benjamin Hagedorn, an associate professor and geochemist at California State University, Long Beach. As someone who teaches a class on air pollution, Hagedorn said Long Beach and Southern California in general rank pretty low in terms of air quality because of emissions and low rainfall.

&#;From about March through October, there is just no process that kind of flushes or purges the atmosphere, so we have this trend where those emissions just accumulate and are baked by the sunlight to form pollutants,&#; Hagedorn said.

The study advises that people who live in areas of poor air quality should avoid outdoor activities during rush hours and exercise away from heavily trafficked roads, but for many children in and around &#;Asthma Alley,&#; Betancourt said those may not be viable options.

&#;Sometimes you really don&#;t have any choice when it&#;s too hot so you have to open your windows,&#; Betancourt said. &#;When you do that, well, you&#;re exposing your child and your family to dirty air that literally you can you can smell it. You&#;re breathing that in.&#;

But for the Zazuetas and similar families, that might be the only option for now. Zazueta said she hopes she can use her own experiences to continue to educate families, as she now volunteers for the same organization she turned to in her time of need.

&#;It&#;s truly been a lifesaver,&#; Zazueta said.

This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a multimedia collaboration among Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.AlertMe

Sours: https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org//10/01/long-beach-air-quality-problems/
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