There’s something in the air here in Fairifield County, and it could be making you sick.
That’s what the Lung Assocation is saying for the 15th year in a row when analyzing the quality of our air. The organization gave this region an F – yet again- for it’s high o-zone concentration. Ozone occurs naturally at ground level, but carbon emissions from burnt fossil fuels is leading to unhealthy amounts in the air we breathe, leading to dangerous respiratory issues, and more recently researcers at the University of Rochester are attributing the pollutants to incidence of autism.
“I can’t say I was surprised," said Professor James Biardi of Fairfield University.
James Biardi is the director of environemtnal studies at Fairfield Univeristy. He tells me cars and trucks, often seen here on I-95, are the biggest threats to our air quality. It’s a hard issue to tackle, especially considering this area’s ever growing population. Between 2010 and 2013 alone, the population grew 2.5 percent in Fairfield County and the majority of those people are driving a car.
“I think the main reason we continue to suffer poor air quality is not because each individual automobile is getting that much worse or not getting that much better in terms of how much pollutant their emitting, but because we are continuing to grow in both population size and economic activity," he said.
So, if cars are the biggest threat to our air quality, perhaps looking at alternative forms of transportation could do the trick. And some suggest, grabbing for that charger.
“Exactly – yes. Hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles would go a long with reducing those pollutant types,” said Biardi.
And if you do choose to nix gas, the equipment is here and ready to use.
In Greenwich, I met Sam Garber, who told me about the perks he finds in driving a Tesla electric vehicle.
"Very much a good decision because I enjoy the way it drives. It just feels like a supercar. And it certainly helps the environment and I don't have to go to the gas station," he said.
Aside from electric cars, both the federal and regional governments are looking at new ways to approach carbons emissions that lead to these pollutants. Recently, President Obama announced a plan to put new EPA rules in place, looking to force states to cut emissins by 30 percent come 2030.
Right now, what's a simple way we can cut our carbon footprint? Professor Biardi suggests public transportation.