In Cleveland, OH air quality is a considerable problem and fails to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for ozone and PM2.5. Vehicle exhaust and factory emissions are the major contributors to air pollutants factors causing this issue. Warming temperatures and extreme weather due to climate change exacerbate this issue.
According to the American Lung Association, harmful toxins in the air can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, and cause lung cancer. The most vulnerable to these toxins are babies, seniors, and marginalized groups who are often more likely to live in areas with heavy pollution.
To combat poor air quality we need to start by enacting sustainable local, state, and federal policies. Developing an app for carpooling to encourage ride-sharing, using electric vehicles including school and city buses, and increasing solar energy will reduce the number of harmful emissions released. Lastly, planting more trees will naturally improve our air quality. As a person of color living in a low-income area in the inner city with heavy air pollution, I am concerned for the safety of my community and believe these changes will help my community to be more resilient.
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