CA Air Quality Bill Moot Point Due to Overpopulation

Published on April 29th, 2022

The San Joaquin Valley has some of the worst air quality in the USA.

A newly passed bill, AB-2550, has empowered the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to tackle that issue head on.

A writeup on the bill from The Hill says this legislation allows the CARB to “intervene” to tackle air pollution and ensure that the region meets national ambient air quality standards.

The Hill report broke down where this pollution comes from.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the valley as having [‘]some of the nation’s worst air quality,[‘] due to a combination of topography and pollution sources. The valley’s surrounding mountain ranges trap air pollutants, which come from heavy truck traffic, diesel-burning locomotives, tractors, irrigation pumps and fireplaces, according to the EPA.”

The report added more context about what activities contribute to this form of air pollution, and its effects on human health.

Fine particulate matter — particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns, also known as PM 2.5 — come from sources like wildfires, wood-burning stoves, coal-fired power plants and diesel engines. These microscopic pollutants can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and also potentially lead to lung cancer.

Many of the activities which cause this type of air pollution increase as the population increases.

As we mentioned in our Earth Day message, overpopulation is a major contributing factor when it comes to pollution levels.

California is no different, and mass migration into the state over the past few decades has strained state resources and led to an increase in pollution.

As we wrote about in a blog on drought conditions in California last year, California has expanded from 30 million people in 1990 to nearly 40 million people today.

For context, in 1950 California’s population was 10 million people.

Passing this bill is a positive step in the right direction to making California a healthier place to live.

Unfortunately, without addressing the causal issue of overpopulation, it’s a moot point.

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