Environmental Disasters and Air Pollution

Oil production companies disproportionately distributed in low-income communities

Photo by Maxim Tolchinskiy on Unsplash

Environmental disasters affect the planet earth and destroy the ecological system. These environmental disasters or catastrophes can make a big impact on the air and human health. These disasters can include wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and many more. Wildfires have been greatly affecting the lifestyle of people living in California. These fires have caused great destruction to trees, houses, businesses, and animals. These fires are increasing the temperature and carbon dioxide particles in the air.

This is a public health issue because these pollutants can cause many health problems like lung cancer and asthma. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (2020), 40 percent of young adults are more likely to have asthma episodes during high pollution summer days. The study also indicates that more adults are likely to visit the emergency room for breathing problems. These small air particles can have great effects on the human body and cause them to be hospitalized. Asthma and Allergy Foundation (2020) states that when the Air Quality Index reaches 101 or higher, the asthma symptoms can be worsened.

California believes in sustainability and green energy but produces a lot of oils. Oil production pollutes the air with gases that can cause climate change such as methane. Los Angeles produces roughly 11 million oil barrels per year; however, the production has been reduced since 1977. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (2019), oil production went down from 96 million barrels to 11 million barrels from the year 1977 to the year 2018.

Many people live close to oil production companies. According to Willon (2020), living near oil production companies can cause health issues and affect newborn babies. These young children and babies’ bodies are more susceptible to toxins. Most of the oils are produced in poor neighborhoods and these neighborhoods get affected highly because of the pollution. Air toxins are emitted during petroleum inspection, production, processing, and combustion. Willon (2020) states, environmental health advocates noticed that oil production companies were mostly in Black and Latino communities.

There is an alley in Louisiana called the cancer alley. Many African Americans live in this alley and they die of cancer caused by chemical plants which produce toxins. According to the American Cancer Society (2020), the estimated number of new cases of patients with lung cancer in Louisiana is 3,700 which is a 67.5 rate increase. Suggestion to this problem is to move these companies away from the residential areas and poor areas. Also, implement more regulations to reduce the production of oil.

To conclude, environmental disasters are detrimental and can be bad for public health. Air pollution is caused by environmental disasters such as fires or air pollution from oil production. Many low socio-economic areas have been affected by these oil productions, and air pollutants have increased in the air causing many health issues. More regulations should be in place to avoid health risks to ensure better public health.

References

AAFA. (2020). https://www.aafa.org/air-pollution-smog-asthma/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwreT8BRDTARIsAJLI0KJofRwQOTXZeTQR1Nu11aOnfb9q5Dlq9nqW1ThUCJ4DVWGGjYCjw2caAvhpEALw_wcB.

Allison, & Mandler. (2018, June 18). Air Quality Impacts of Oil and Gas. American Geosciences Institute. https://www.americangeosciences.org/geoscience-currents/air-quality-impacts-oil-and-gas.

American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts & Statistics. (2020). Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/

Regulatory Information by Topic: Air. (2020, August 08). Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://www.epa.gov/regulatory-information-topic/regulatory-information-topic-air

Willon, P. (2020, August 13). California oil production limits stall in Legislature, leaving the issue to Newsom. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-13/setbacks-legislation-california-oil-gas-production-environmental-protections-newsom

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