Smoke and fine particulate, regardless of the source, has the potential to make life a living hell for sensitive groups of people. However, it is a mistake to single out one industry.
Do you drive your car on a daily basis? If so, you are also contributing fine particulate into the atmosphere.
Do you buy products made in China? If so, you are contributing to the burning of coal in Chinese powerplants that have virutally no regulatory restrictions and therefore spew gigantic amounts of fine particulate into the atmosphere (which ends up on the West Coast, btw).
Do you have a woodstove or fireplace that you enjoy sitting in front of on a cold winter night? If so, you are contributing fine particultes to the atmosphere during a time of year when ventilation is extremely low and those particulates hang around low to the ground.
Does your house have any vinyl siding, windows, or floor tiles? If so, you are contributing to fine particulate and VOC pollution from the factories that make your products.
Do you buy products that were shipped by truck? You guessed it, you are contributing to fine particulate pollution from diesel exhaust.
Although I understand the frustration of these sensitive groups of people, the government can only do so much before industry -- any industry -- becomes incapable of operating. At some point, government regulations have to stop and personal responsibilty has to take over.
It would be a mistake to take field burning away from farmers completely. Over the last 20 years, grass seed growers have reduced field burning to the bare minimum needed to remain competitive in the market, keep soil from eroding, and keep tillage to a minimum.
Instead of banning the practice altogether, perhaps there are better ways to provide sensitive people with more warning of impending smoke intrusions? Perhaps organizing a non-partisan/multi-party state task force to tackle just this topic would end up helping everybody out? It would also represent a more reasonable step towards solving an emotionally charged issue.
posted 4 years, 2 months ago
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