At a regional level, ten North Texas counties, including Dallas County, consistently fail to meet federal air quality standards for ground level ozone. In 2018, Dallas was ranked 16th in the American Lung Association’s 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities. The report estimates 159,749 cases of pediatric asthma, 432,736 cases of adult asthma, 273,449 cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and 4,058 of cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, referred to air pollution as a “silent public health emergency.”
Children are particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of air quality. Exposure to pollution during early development years can lead to reduced lung capacity. In the U.S., black children are twice as likely as white children to have asthma and with greater severity—experiencing higher-than- average rates of hospitalization, emergency room visits and deaths from asthma.
So, what does this have to do with climate change or the Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan (CECAP)?
If we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, then emissions of other climate drivers such as methane, black carbon, and ground-level ozone must be reduced alongside carbon dioxide. These reductions would benefit the climate and foster sustainable development by delivering better health outcomes through improved air quality, preventing crop losses, and ensuring that we avoid climate tipping points that would exacerbate long-term impacts and impede efforts to adapt to climate change.
Not only will reductions in key greenhouse gases help limit global warming, but reductions will also protect human health, our resources, and our quality of life.
This Friday, June 21st, is Clean Air Action Day. We invite you to come out to Paul Quinn College and learn how Urban Agriculture can help improve our air quality and mitigate/adapt to the effects of climate change. Residents are also asked to pledge to do just one thing on Friday to help improve air quality. Be a Clean Air Champion for Dallas!