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Letters to the Editor

Letter: L.A. smog

  • Author: Don Neal
    | Opinion
  • Updated: January 6
  • Published January 6

I’m tired of climate change unbelievers saying that our current climate disruptions are natural, or that there’s nothing we can do about them anyhow. Ask those old enough to have experienced the brown smog over California during the 1950s through the 1970s. For days and weeks, the air would sting one’s eyes and trigger coughing and nausea. The sun often appeared to be a visible orange disk veiled behind a brown curtain. Respiratory ailments took lives.

It was years before researchers diagnosed the source as being automobile and industrial emissions. When the state government finally grasped the enormity of the problem, auto emissions and industrial pollution regulations went into effect. Industry fought back, claiming that mere man-made efforts wouldn’t make a dent in this natural phenomenon. They were wrong.

Los Angeles residents who had not seen the hills surrounding their city in years marveled at their new view. Eyes ceased to burn, and the air no longer had a tangible taste. Perfection was never achieved, because the natural lay of the land was conducive to inversions, which trapped the remaining toxics near ground level, but the 95% improvement was entirely due to the efforts of man using science.

The same kinds of methods, employed on a nationwide or worldwide level, together with a reduction in the use of fossel fuels, may well prevent the infamous “L.A. smog” from becoming an “Earth-smothering smog.” President Donald Trump’s attempts to deregulate the restrictions on coal and oil use are solely based upon his fealty to the manufacturing and business interests that supported his election — he personally doesn’t care about the miseries of pollution, as he can buy comfort now, and he won’t be around to worry about it 20 years from now.

I won’t, either, but I’d like my great-grandchildren to be able to see the mountains that afforded me so much beauty and pleasure during the best years of my life.

— Don Neal

Anchorage

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