Environment

There were 37 days of degraded air quality in 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) --- A new report about Portland's air quality was released on Wednesday morning.

The Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center report found that 2.4 million people in the greater Portland area had 37 days of degraded air quality in 2016, which increases the risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other health impacts. 

"We need to be cutting our air pollution, both smog pollution and particulate pollution and global warming pollution at a much faster rate because one day of unhealthy air is one day too many," Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center State Director Celeste Meiffren-Swango says.

According to the report, burning fossil fuels is the culprit for the unhealthy air.

"That's everything from coal, diesel and gasoline; and those are the areas we need to be cutting as soon as possible."

Meiffren-Swango says the Trump administration is threatening to slash the federal clean car standards and other clean air policies.

"So we're really concerned because we should be strengthening these regulations instead of rolling them back."

Pediatricians say the dirty air and smog in our area is linked to adverse health effects, including asthma and heart disease.

"During times when air pollution levels are high, we see an increase in numbers of children with asthma coming in for medical attention," Doernbecher Children's Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Melissa Weddle says.

To reduce pollution, Environment Oregon researchers are pushing the federal government to uphold the clean car standards and calling on TriMet to transition to zero emission fully electric busses by 2020.


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