Too often, Americans don’t know enough about the air quality in their communities and the impact it has on their health. A new ProPublica interactive neighborhood map shows, for the first time, the air quality in America’s neighborhoods. It was developed to interpret data from air pollutant monitoring stations into a scale that indicates how polluted the air is and the health effects associated. The higher the Air Quality Index (AQI) value, the greater the level of pollution and the greater health concern.
Air pollution has significant impacts on the environment and the health of human beings. Inhaling pollutants and small particulate matter contribute to cardiovascular disease, respiratory concerns, lung cancer, and onset asthma. The World Health Organization (WHO) has linked over 4.2 million premature deaths from health issues to air pollution. Air pollutants continue to disproportionately affect lower-income communities, leading to poor health for those with no access to health care. Tackling air quality and pollutants needs to be a priority for private companies.
Data centers use comes at a cost to the environment. Data centers use an estimated 200 terawatt-hours each year, more than the annual energy consumption of some small countries. They also contribute to overall global and carbon emissions, with a predicted increase of 20% of global electricity demand by 2030. Essentially, data centers must implement environmental innovations to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers.
California has 35 local Air Districts regulated by the California Air Resources Board which are responsible for regional air quality planning, monitoring, and facility permitting. The districts issue legislation and administer air quality improvement programs. These Air Quality Management Districts, or AQMD's, are the California Air Resources Board's primary partners in ensuring clean air across the state of California.
Proposition 1B, also known as the Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program, was approved in 2006 and has provided funding for projects that aim to reduce emissions. Prop 1B intends to reduce diesel air pollution from goods movement operations, which is broken down into two categories: heavy-duty trucks and transportation refrigeration units (TRU).
As California utilities halted service to more than 2 million people last year, lines formed at hardware stores selling portable generators and many hospitals and businesses fired up their own. The prospect of the increased emissions from untold numbers of the machines, was troubling in a state already burdened with some of the nation’s worst air quality.
According to a recent Boston Globe article, when Massachusetts released a survey of town-by-town coronavirus infection rates earlier this month, communities that topped the list made alarming sense to public health experts and environmental activists. The communities that have been hardest hit by the virus; Chelsea, Brockton, Everett, Lynn, Randolph, and Lawrence all have a high percentage of low-income residents, with high rates of asthma and other environmentally-related respiratory diseases, in part because of pollution.