EPA to Reduce Pollution Restrictions: What This Could Mean For Our Future

According to CNN, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reported to have plans which will permit states to emit more ozone air pollution than previously allowed. The Trump administration intends to change the good neighbor policy of the Clean Air Act's requirements, meaning that each state can soon emit 43% more cross-pollution or the pollution that affects border states.

This act is one of many from Trump’s administration involving permittance of higher levels of air pollution. In addition to withdrawing from the international Paris climate agreement, the Trump administration plans to lift vehicle emission restrictions and adjust the Clean Power Plan, which limits the carbon pollution of power plants. In May of last year, the EPA replaced half of the scientists on the key board as well as suspended over 200 advisory panels in the Interior Department. According to EPA spokesperson J.P. Freire, the EPA wanted fresh advisors and that “no one had been fired or terminated,” although their terms were never renewed, which in the EPA is more typical than termination.

So what does this mean for the world? Smog has become a noticeable problem in many states throughout the U.S., as well as around the world. Pollutants such as black carbon, nitrates, and sulfates can critically impair lungs, often times fatally. According to Fortune, “air pollution is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide” and contributed to around 6 million deaths last year. Smog is the most toxic in developing countries as well as the most industrial, populated cities. India is the second worst country for air pollution levels in the globe, closely following China which has over 1 million air pollution-related deaths each year. Delhi, India’s most populated city, is currently facing a thick, toxic smog. In a recent research study, a direct correlation was found there between premature, malnourished babies and pregnant women with increased exposure to pollution. PM2.5 is the matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can severely clog lungs and according to CNN, Delhi’s PM2.5 level was 354 on Monday, 329 levels higher than the acceptable breathing level determined by the World Health Organization: 25. People in cities with significantly toxic levels of air pollution like Delhi, Tokyo, and Beijing have begun to regularly wear face masks in an attempt for protection. With the EPA loosening their grip on toxic emissions in the United States, we could see a shift over the next several years towards levels like these.

Courtesy: CNN

 

Air pollution is also responsible for almost one in 10 deaths in children under 5 years old and is one of the leading causes of death for the young age group. 600,000 children died of acute lower respiratory infections from polluted air in 2016.

“Children exposed to air pollution can be at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions later in life. Toxic air exposure can affect neurological development and cognitive ability. It can also trigger childhood cancer and asthma” -First Channel.

Last May, the EPA removed multiple links from its website to agency sites with information about climate change and scientific data. It also hindered the accessibility to a website meant to inform children about climate change called “A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change.” Its link is removed from the EPA’s homepage and it is now difficult to locate even through outside search engines. The educational resource has over 50 pages of videos and information on detailed aspects of climate change. According to CNN, teachers that once relied on the source reported that they could no longer access it. Despite complaints, the EPA has stuck with the website’s remodeling and did not release comments on the matter.