The air quality throughout the San Joaquin Valley is a serious health burden for residents, according to the State of the Air 2016 report released by the American Lung Association.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to adopt stricter national vehicle standards in an effort to reduce air pollution. The new petition asks the federal government to mandate that cars to be 50 percent to 90 percent cleaner than before, according to Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the Valley Air District.
In the San Joaquin Valley, Sadredin said, businesses account for about 15 percent of the air pollution, while about 85 percent comes from mobile sources that fall under federal jurisdiction. Out of that 85 percent, 60 percent are trucks and trains, he said.
The Valley suffers from stagnant air, experts have said. Pollutants become trapped here while breezier cities on the coast have pollutants filtered out frequently. A frequent lack of rain and wind also is a factor, allowing pollutants to linger for days, resulting in higher health risks, according to the American Lung Association.
Sadredin said to meet the federal standard in air quality, pollution needs to cut an additional 90 percent, and without stricter national vehicle standards in place, the Central Valley won’t get there.
“It’s important to point out national standards will even out the playing field,” Sadredin said.