Thursday, September 15, 2005

Air Pollution

What should you really fear?

So much has been made of the dangers of second-hand smoke. So much that it has been banned in bars and restaurants in entire cities across the globe.

Some places have even banned you from smoking in your car on their parking lot. Even with all the windows rolled up.

Everyone has gotten angry at Tobacco.
If second-hand smoke causes cancer, what does this stuff do?

This recent posting from the Courthouse News Service (see links section):

Power Plants' Mercury Emissions Hurt Kids, Parents Claim
BALTIMORE (CN) - Sigman-Aldrich and other polluters have done neurological damage to children by polluting the air with Thimoseral, which contains toxic amounts of mercury, five couples claim in Federal Court. The emissions allegedly came from electric power plants. The parents seek more than $1.7 billion in damages. (The complaint, filed by Thomas Yost Jr. of Baltimore, was filed one week before the U.S. Senate refused, by 51-47 vote, to reject the Bush administration’s new EPA rules that would wait until 2018 to phase in controls of mercury emissions from coal-generated power plants.)
Also named as defendants are American International Chemical, Spectrum Laboratory Products, Eli Lilly & Co., Merck & Co., Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, Baxter Healthcare Corp., Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., and Constellation Energy Group


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Daryl Aretz said...

I think people should ONLY be allowed to smoke inside with the windows rolled up. They should then be forced to breathe that air (it's called recycling!) until all the pollutants present have absorbed into their systems. Have you noticed the skin color of long-term smokers? It's the same yellowbrown as the butts of the cigarettes they throw away. Trees are starting to develop that same yellowish tint, and it ain't cuz it's autumn.
But that idea is just silly. Why should we stop pouring pollutants in the air? They dissipate and disappear. It's the way it always has been done, it's the right way, it's the only way. Everyone NEEDS their SUVs. Everyone NEEDS to smoke. Everyone NEEDS to fly to the Earth Day conference.
We've got filters. We've got the EPA, who says how much of each contaminent is legally allowed to be put into the atmosphere. And California has the strictest pollutant release laws of all. You've all watched The Price Is Right: "A new car...with California emissions!"
I've driven west twice in my life now. Both times, I was awestruck by the faint gray clouds that appeared on the horizon, and steadily got bigger until they were the Rockies. I also saw Los Angeles. From San Jose. It was a faint gray cloud on the horizon. I hear that on really good days you can smell it from there, too. In California, they give daily smog reports on the news and on signs on the highway. But interstate commerce must go on. Chug, chug, makin my money, chug chug. Everyone NEEDS their artificial sweeteners. Everyone NEEDS their prefabricated house. Everyone NEEDS their chemically enhanced produce. Oh, sorry, I forgot how ecologically-minded they are out there. They all drive high mileage-per-gallon vehilces, they all use Energystar appliances, they all use cheap Me*ican labor, they all recycle.
Oh, God. Recycling. Have you ever been to a recycling plant? I have, worked for one, toured a couple others. I recommend you go. Huge diesel machines pushing around piles of crap people have dropped off so it doesn't go in a landfill. NEWS ALERT: Most of it still does. That shampoo bottle that says 'check to see if facilities exist?' Not recyclable. That Entertainment Weekly? Not recyclable.
Plastic that has dyes or is molded in a certain way is landfill. Paper with wax or plastic coating or the wrong kind of ink is landfill.
You CAN recycle milk jugs, your buckonine water bottle, your newpapers, your white paper, your cardboard. Just remove all staples, tape, labels, and/or glues, heat it up, bleach it and reuse it. It only causes a little air and water pollution to do it. Only a little more than making new ones. Anyone who lives in a town with a recycling plant knows how little impact such a factory has on the area. (There may be a little sarcasm in that last part.)
There are some places that are getting smarter. They cover the landfills with dirt and sod, put in little methane vents and put golf courses or housing developments on them. That's such a better idea than to reuse the land we had already set aside for residential purposes. That way, if the vents stop working, those gasses will build up, and explode, killing the rich bastards who can afford to "live" and "play" on them. (No sarcasm there.)
And DON'T stop littering, despite what you read. "Ooooh, if I just put my McDonald's wrapper in the trash, I'm not polluting." Bull. That wrapper will either blow away (from the can or the diesel truck that comes to empty it) or it will sit in a landfill. And sit. And sit. And anything that says 'environmentally friendly packaging' should DEFINITELY be chucked into the grass on the side of the road, where it WILL break down in the sun and rain. At least that what the people who stay in controlled environments would like you to believe. Of course, they can't test it in the real world. It's too hard to breathe.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Daryl Aretz said...

And damn you Jeremy for even getting me started.


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