Smog Levels on the Rise

Despite the United States reduction in air pollution, smog levels on the West Coast are on the rise. Bill Chappell, Smog in Western U.S. Starts Out as Pollution in Asia, Researchers Say, (Mar. 3, 2017). Researchers have discovered that the growing levels of smog are a result of pollution that has drifted over the Pacific Ocean from Asia. Id. This finding has sparked the need for a global perspective on preserving air quality. Id.

Air pollution from Asia, mainly China and India, is the cause of as much as 65% of the increase in ozone on the West Coast. Id. One of the reasons for the increase is because the emissions of nitrogen oxides have tripled in the past 27 years in Asian countries. Id. Nitrogen oxide, when exposed to sunlight, breaks down and produces ozone, the key component of smog. Id. The United States have cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 50%, but due to circulating air currents the emission cuts haven’t produced much good. Id.

High levels of ground-level ozone can cause adverse impacts for people, animals, and crops. Id. It can aggravate asthma and damage lung cells, making it difficult to breathe. Id. Due to these harmful impacts some scientists believe that a strategy incorporating a global perspective is needed when meeting air quality objectives. Id.