05 December 2012

Oh, What a Beautiful (cough!) Morning!

It's finally happened, but it's not like we didn't expect it. With winter in the "Valley of the Sun" comes pollution -- wretched, deathly pollution made up of car exhaust and fireplace residue and dust and probably some insect parts. Usually, we get brief respites from the pollution when we get rain -- but we've not had any rain since 10 September (and October is supposedly our wettest month). The pollution has been increasing without let up.

Today, for the first time this season, our particulate matter has reached the "unhealthy" level (see image) which means the air is unsafe to breathe. People will get the sniffles, will cough, will have all kinds of problems but just assume it's a seasonal cold. Why? Because it seems no one ever wants to mention our air pollution -- bad for the "snowbird" industry (people vacationing in Phoenix away from snowy climates).

We went to an outdoor festival last weekend. One of the vendors was commenting on the "perfect" weather (near-record-breaking high temperatures and, yes, bad pollution) and said "We have nothing to complain about." My reply: "Nothing except all the air pollution." The vendor shrugged her shoulders. So, warm polluted weather is better than snow. Whatever.

Although it doesn't seem to make the local television news, our daily newspaper did a multi-part story on our air pollution earlier this year. I suggest you read this before coming to visit the metro Phoenix area this winter.

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