EL CENTRO, Calif. – Imperial County has one of the worst air quality in the country according to a recent study by the American Lung Association.
“That’s the reality that thousands of Imperial County are living every single day, not just the pollution but the effect this pollution has on public health,” said Israel Cruz, Comite Civico del Valle member.
Cruz said nobody living in the valley can escape it.
“It affects us all for sure. No matter how young or healthy you are, pollution enters your system – affects all. But the most affected groups are children and elderly.”
According to the annual State of the Air by the American Lung Association report, 166 million people are at risk of early death and significant health problems. Air pollution has a role in asthma, developmental damage and cancer. An Imperial Valley town is ranked number five as most air polluted in the country. Comite Civico del Valle Director Jose Luis Olmedo says the time to act is now.
“We need to do something whether it’s through regulation, through just environmental consciousness, begin to reduce the air pollution and there’s a lot that can be done,” Olmedo said.
He encourages residents to get air quality online information.
“The county has a website called ImperialValleyAir.org you can go in there and get air quality data,” Olmedo said.
Olmedo said when air quality is very bad the public must make a choice.
“Choose between staying healthy and having outdoor activities or staying indoors or in an environment that protects our health,” Olmedo said.
Cruz said the community should let leaders know their concerns.
“Get together as a community and go to our elected officials and start conversations with them,” Cruz said.
Cruz said air quality won’t get better by itself, the community must act.
“Make some noise,” Cruz concluded.