Air Pollution: New Plan Which Targets Fireplace Use

May 1, 2008 9:51:51 AM PDT
The Valley is home to some of the dirtiest air in the country. Smog contributes to a rising asthma rate and other health problems.But a new plan to fight the pollution problem came under fire. Crackling fires may provide warmth during cold winter nights but they also produce fine particulate matter or PM 2.5.

Valley Air Pollution Control District Executive Director Seyed Sadredin said "They are very small. One-thirtieth of your human hair in terms of their size, they're very dangerous for a number of reasons."

Valley residents could face tighter restrictions to help the air pollution control district meet federal standards by 2014. But masked protestors, some carrying crosses at Tuesday's board meeting, said the district plan falls short. They want more restrictions placed on Valley farms, dairies and big rigs, which all contribute to the Valley's bad air.

One group even brought in what they called prayer flags to represent the number of premature deaths in the Valley related to pm 2-pont-5. Jenny Saklar of Fresno Metro Ministry said "I come to you to ask you to make this plan stronger before you accept it."

Despite the opposition, the board voted 8-3 to move the plan forward. It would change the trigger point on when fireplaces or wood-stoves can be used. District Executive Director Seyed Sadredin said "With this plan we are proposing to add the number of days that we call no-burn days in the future. It may increase it by as many as thirty days in a bad year that you cannot use your fireplace in Fresno for instance."

Fireplace users will still get their chance to address the board before any rules are enacted. Some in attendance applauded the vote. Shirley Studt of Fresno said "Fireplace smoke hurts my breathing and in my opinion makes everything stink."

Has the Valley Air Pollution Control District gone too far or not far enough? Voice your opinion in the ABC30.com forum


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