Knowing that four out of every ten Americans live in a location where the air they breathe is polluted is scary, but believe this or not, these statistics are lower than they have been at times in the past.

Most Progress in Air Clean-Up

The most progress made in cleaning up the air and reducing the amount of pollution people breathe goes to the citizens living in the eastern half of the United States, according to Janice Nolen who is the assistant vice president for national policy at the ALA.

In the eastern portion of the United States, the changes have been implemented to create cleaner power plants, and to reduce the hazardous emissions produced by diesel fleets who move and transport all of the goods people need.

Who is at the Highest Risk of Breathing Polluted Air?

People who live in a close proximity to busy roads and highways are at the highest risk of breathing air that is polluted. Traffic related pollution has been proven to increase a person’s risk of developing conditions like asthma and high blood pressure.

Vehicle emissions are not unilaterally regulated throughout the country. If you live near an interstate highway, then you are likely to be exposed to more pollutants because there is a higher volume of traffic, and there is a higher volume of vehicles who do not have to have the same safety measures in place to reduce the emissions they produce.

That is one reason why some cities have a higher smog rating than other cities. The state that the city is in might regulate their vehicles to decrease pollutants in the air, but when you live in a city that is heavily traveled through by people using one of the interstate super highways then your air is exposed to the pollutants produced by vehicles from states with lesser regulations on the emissions.

What can be done?

A set of regulatory guidelines for vehicles could be adopted and put into place in every city in the United States. This would not completely eliminate air pollution from traffic, but it would greatly reduce the problem.

Rebate incentives that would encourage people to carpool, use public transportation services, or drive electric powered vehicles would help to reduce the amount of hazardous emissions produced by traffic on the roadways.

Establishing a unilateral guideline for the emissions of plants and large companies across the nation would allow every city to have cleaner air. Today there are places where the emissions of chemical plants and processing plants are strictly regulated, but the regulations are not the same in every state, and it will have to be for the air quality to be improved across the board.

Planting more trees will help the air you breathe. As we wipe out trees we wipe out filters that help keep our air clean. Every person can plant a tree, and every city can increase the number of trees they have to help improve the air we breathe.