American Lung Association: In Broward County, The Air Is Poison

The American Lung Association came to Florida to learn, and left holding their noses. The air in Broward County has officially received a not-bad "B" for ground-level ozone (which is actually smog, as explained in the Sun Sentinel's chastising article) and a grim "D" for "Particulate Pollution" (soot). These grades aren't terrible, by the way. Sure, our air isn't as healthy as that in, say, Tucson or Honolulu, to name just a couple of the places where you'd be better off breathing. But at least we're better than Los Angeles. Holy shit, is that some crunchy air!

But we're better than a lot of other places, too. The Sun Sentinel has been hard on us.


We're next to an ocean, which is good -- it means plenty of our airborne crap can blow out to sea. We're flat, so there's no depressions into which our airborne crap can sink, and there's nothing much stopping an easterly breeze from blowing our airborne crap out over the Everglades. Given these advantages, a B and a D sound kind of pathetic.

But! Our county is also full of roads, cards, transients, and enviro-apathists without a single Green bone in their bodies. Unlike, say, Manhattan or Queens -- which, while car-filled and coastal, are full of eco-conscious Greenheads and have the added bonus of lots of public transportation. To our "B," Manhattan gets an "F" and Queens gets a "D." To our "D," Manhattan also gets a "D," and Queens squeaks through with a "C."

Maybe that comparison aren't fair. Queens is a lot more landlocked than us, and while Manhattan and Broward have about the same population (1.7 million), Manhattan's more than doubles during the day because of commuters. Also, that island packs all those people into 27 square miles. Broward is 1,319 square miles.

A better comparison might be Baltimore, MD. Its total population (a little over 700,000) is about equal to the east-of-95 population of Broward, and its size is about equivalent to that area, too. And Maryland, I am pleased to report, got an "F" and an "F." Broward, for once, is better at something than someone.

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