Cameron County leads the state in poor air quality, report says

Local News

FILE – (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley, File)

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Brownsville-Harlingen area dealt with 129 days of elevated air pollution in 2020, the most in Texas, according to a report from Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group and TExPIRG Education Fund.

The report reviewed air pollution records from across the country, focusing on ground-level ozone and fine particulate pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gasoline and methane from wildfires.

The release stated that the Brownsville-Harlingen area had 129 days of elevated levels of particulate matter and ozone last year. El Paso had 126 days, San Antonio had 101 and McAllen had 96.

Dr. Lisa Doggett, president of Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility, said in the release that air pollution could impose a danger on an individual’s health.

“Not only does air pollution contribute to climate change, but it increases rate of respiratory disease, heart attacks, pregnancy loss and even neurologic conditions and mental health problems,” said Doggett.

Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas, said the number of days with poor air quality was far too high.

“129 days is unacceptable,” Metzger said in the release. “We need to do more to deliver cleaner air for our communities.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency lists several steps on their website to reduce pollution when ozone levels are high. The steps include:

  • Choose a cleaner commute – share a ride to work or use public transportation.
  • Combine errands and reduce trips. Walk to errands when possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling of your automobile.
  • Refuel your car in the evening when its cooler.
  • Conserve electricity and set air conditioners no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Defer lawn and gardening chores that use gasoline-powered equipment, or wait until evening

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