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April 2011
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gwen [userpic]
There's a whole lot of interesting local news today...

First of all, our smoking ban went into effect at midnight. Even when I was still a smoker, I was all for this. The thing is, if restaurants, bars, clubs, and other related establishments had actually voluntarily disallowed smoking inside in even significant quantities (*), I'd have felt differently. But they didn't, and someone needed to kick them in the ass for this, so it happened. Ah well.

In other lung-related news, Pittsburgh is now second most polluted in the nation, behind LA. Well, that's a damper on our recently reminted stamp of "Most Liveable City". Apparently they didn't assess vital living things like breathing in their assessments. But what's the culprit here, I had to wonder, it's not like we're big enough to be generating that much traffic related smog, and our steel mills are mostly gone... oh, here it is:

Higher soot levels in the East, the report said, are linked to an increase in electricity generation by heavily polluting, coal-fired power plants.

Well, so much for those billboards proclaiming the GREEN CLEAN ENERGY of coal plants. No, really, I call bullshit on your claims there, and apparently so does our air quality.

(*) I mean "significant" in the scientific sense: not a majority, but enough to be somewhat common. Since the ban has been threatened, there have been a few establishments to go smoke-free in anticipation of the ban, but I consider that still part of the "kick in the ass".

Current Mood: quixoticquixotic

Realize that coal-fired power plant pollution here is coming from plants further west, many of which are not required to have emission controls as comprehensive as those here, because those states aren't polluted (cough Ohio cough)

Modern designs such as circulating fluidized beds do limit emissions, but natural gas is still usually cleaner in terms of emission.

Obviously not burning anything is the best.

The thing is, if restaurants, bars, clubs, and other related establishments had actually voluntarily disallowed smoking inside in even significant quantities (*), I'd have felt differently.

Yup, exactly. The thing is, none of these places are willing to voluntarily do it, because they're afraid of losing business to their competitors who don't ban smoking. So there's really no way it ever would have happened voluntarily. It pretty much has to be an all-or-nothing ban in order for it to ever work.

What gets to me is that they're still trying to use the "irreparable harm to businesses" argument. There's now plenty of evidence, in a number of cities, that this simply isn't true. There's a brief backlash while smokers are busy being indignant, but ultimately, people still want to go out, and won't go to the hassle of traveling to the next county (or even out of the city) to do it. Hell, when the ban kicked in here in DC, it negatively impacted bar numbers for all of about two weeks before everything went back to normal. And that was also 1) immediately after the heavy New Years party week, when things usually tend to die down a bit anyway, and 2) the coldest period we'd had yet that winter, so it's hard to say how much of that was even the impact of the ban.

All I have to say is that going out and being able to breathe is a wonderful thing. I never even realized just how badly the smoke impacted me until it was gone.

My brother pointed to an article a couple days ago (I have since lost it, so didn't reference it here) that has shown positive impacts on businesses which have already gone smoke-free in preparation for the ban.

Pollutant level testing

I know that pollutant testing, smog in particular, get thrown off by a recent rain. When Houston had a terribly dry summer, they managed to beat LA for highest smog concentration . . . these tests are very dependant upon situation.

Re: Pollutant level testing

That's interesting, but in Pittsburgh, the most recent rain is usually within the past week, if not the past hour ;-) .

Re: Pollutant level testing

Yah, we've had a wet year too.