Air Pollution In The Central Valley Of California Research Papers Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Air, Pollution, Valley, Air Pollution, California, People, Health, United States

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/27


A report was released by the World Health Organization with regard to the air quality measurement in cities throughout the world. Thirty six cities out of three hundred seventy five have an average of twenty micrograms of the concentration of particles where the normal range must not exceed the ten micrometers. However, out of the ten worst cities reported, five are located in the Central Valley of California (Berg, 2011). The Central Valley is settled between the Sierra Nevada on the east side and the coastal mountains on the west side (Carle, 2006). Its size is slightly smaller than the West Virginia. The shape of the Central Valley is crescent and lengthy basin of rich and fertile flatlands which is good in agricultural farming industry. Its coverage ranges more than four hundred fifty miles and it shelters twenty two thousand square miles (Marsa, 2013). The Central Valley consists of a wide basin which is likewise the unfortunately source of air pollution apart from the fundamental problems like population, transportation or even climate change. Its effects are hazardous to animals and also to the residents or people living in the area. Extensive efforts and advocacies are needed to help not only to reduce but also to eventually eliminate the pollution in the air of Central Valley.

Causes of Air Pollution

The farming center of the state is the Central Valley of California since its natural features is a wide valley which is good for farming. The valley’s regions produce half of the vegetables and fruits in the area as well as the country. It is surrounded by the mountain ranges on its three sides. Thus, the Central Valley serves as a catch basin for pollutants which is created by the huge community of farming and other agricultural crops, the industry and even several millions of its population. According to Dimitry Stanich of the California Air Resources Board, the air was trapped in the valley by an inversion layer of warm air. Stanich also states that for forty years California had the most horrible pollution problems throughout the States (Berg, 2011).
The use of pesticides, waste from dairy farm, soil blown from farmlands, and also pesticides have created a smog throughout the area. The mountains that border or surround the valley trap these impurities as a result these became stationary in the air which wraps a permanent covering of smoke in the region (Pettit, 2014).
The Modesto, Bakersfield and Fresno are attached to the Central Valley which becomes the farming center of the state. Apart from the location and condition of the valley, another cause of the pollution is the growth of the population. The most number in population is the Fresno County. Its population is more than 930,000 people (Berg, 2011).
Another is the emission of the vehicles which adds up to the cause of air pollution. Jaime Holt of San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says that the ratio of the people to vehicle is one is to two. This ratio is one of their concerns and there is a need to deal with this kind of concern. The regions have more people resulting to more vehicles (Nate Berg). Also, more of the means of transportation are cars, trucks, ships and trains which exhaust smoke in the air. Aside from these transportations, the stationary sources like oil refineries, power plants, and other industrial facilities add up to the pollution through burning of the fossil fuels. The increase in temperature brought by the change of climate paves way to the outgrowth further the air pollution (Pettit, 2014).
However, Holt discusses it is not the primary cause of pollution. The consistent burning and cuttings of the brush of the farmers in the area would generate a large source of particulate matter in the air. Holt then states that there is a deterioration of pollution begun since the regulation of the agriculture industry with regard to emissions is implemented. There is an improvement in the quality of the air but it continuously suffering on below the average of the quality of the air because of its location (Berg, 2011).

Effects of Air Pollution

There are harmful effects of the quality of the air for those who live and work in the Central Valley. Some may experience danger in the health as the climate change continuously happening around the world. For instance, as the temperature gets hotter, the level of the carbon increases, more contaminants will dump into the air and the quality of the air gradually gets bad. And this will just eventually drive from bad to worse in the approaching years as soon as the world gets warmer and warmer (Pettit, 2014).
The result is the poisonous infusion as ozone smog made when the sunlight cooks the combination of particle and pollutant plus the fact of the increase in the temperature. The air gets the pollution and smoke which will only intensifies when there is an increase in temperature that lead to the effects such asthma and allergies and eventually the occurrence of the diseases in the respiratory system of people as well as animals. This can also lead to illness like pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Holgate, 1999). These illnesses and diseases may cause damage to the adults and of course to the children as well. The effects are if not treated immediately can cause light, moderate and even severe to the mind and body. The pollutants can burn the delicate tissue inside layer of the tissue of the lungs and intensify the predictable range of other problems in health such as lung cancer, dementia and even the heart diseases. These pollutants also speed up the thickening of the arteries that sequentially raises the probabilities of the attack in the heart and stroke. It also quickens the deterioration of the capabilities of mental aspect since the blood rich in oxygen is being less in pumping to the brain (Pettit, 2014).
In 2012, a study was conducted to about twenty thousand women in the region. The study discovered that in contact to this kind of pollutants it will greatly affects the women resulting to the decrease of the concentration and damage the speed of the memory. In addition, exposure to the higher levels of dirty air for women for the longer period of time deteriorates the mental perception and the corresponding getting old thus, there will be an additional two years on every individual (Pettit, 2014).
There are also big particles of about ten microns comparable to the wideness of the thread or strand of the hair of the human. Naturally, these big particles are seen when the wind blew or from the dust of construction and some particles from emission of trash incinerators, wildfires, fireplaces, and woodstoves. But these pollutants create mucus to the lungs, trap these elements, and thus, generate continuous and persistent cough. These also allude inside the walls of the blood vessels that generate the artery-clogging plates’ formation leading to heart attacks and strokes (Pettit, 2014).
Another, tiny particles of about less than two and a half microns are not visible to the naked eye and smaller of about thirty times than the strand of the human hair. These tiny particles originate in the dust and smoke from the heavy metals, brush fires, poisonous chemical exhausts and heavy metals. The study has also presented that these tiny particles are extremely deadly and toxic since these can infiltrate deep inside the lungs and can elude the natural defenses of the respiratory system. With this, the particles are the reason for persistent irritation that weakens the capability of the lungs leading to the alarming cancer. These can also intrude through the nasal passageways going to the brain, and possibly lead to decrease in the mental capabilities (Pettit, 2014).
The smoke that emanates from the chemical stew creates pain when breathing, and eyes to be burned. It can also result to have pain in the chest, irritation if the throat, existence of cough as well as worsen the asthma. Exposure to this could put the children in the more dangers or risks. Aged people are also at risks resulting to decrease in functioning of the heart and lungs. Other than these illnesses and diseases, another effect is on the development of the fetus (Marsa, 2013).
The effects of the pollution in the air are sometimes not immediately felt but it gradually affects the mind and body people living in the Central Valley. A person when exposed to this can get pneumonia and other related diseases and ended up to be hospitalized. The children or the students could not actively enjoy and participate in any sports or athletic events since the body easily get weak and sick. If these effects are untreated and neglected eventually some will die in the earlier and younger age.

Overcoming Air Pollution

In California, the groups from the locality are successful in forcing the people who contribute in polluting the air, to help in reducing the harmful pollutants and to clean the air as well as to clean up the communities. It also made the agencies of the government to be obliged in keeping the people commencing the results of global warming and climate change in the region.
Luis Cabrales, the campaign director of the Coalition for Clean Air, a group that serves as a contributory to pass the Smog Check Program in California in the early 1970s. Cabrales has spent most of the mature life contesting justice for the environment. There were other people who pushed environmentalism in the community. The movement of the environmental justice develops into a prevailing union composed of trade unionists, environmentalists from the traditional white and college-educated, workers from the blue-collar jobs and resident experiencing the pollution of the air. Several years ago, there are organizations who handles advocacy to address the issues or the problem. Among the organizations is the Natural Resources Defense Council, Coalition for Clean Air, and the Coalition for a Safe Environment, unions of the Teamsters and Longshoremen and the local activists. These organizations have been pushing the California Environmental Quality Act and Clean Truck Program in order to initiate strategies of how to reduce pollution in the air and start the clean up this pollution emanating from farms, power plants, ports and others (Marsa, 2013).
The need to increase the campaign of awareness and orientation of the effects of the air pollution should not only be presented to the professionals but also to the young ones. Homes and schools should not ignore it but rather participate in this campaign. The need for the advocates to join hand in hand with the government in pushing the environmental safeties and non-hazardous elements comprises the air. The strict administration and implementation of the laws with regard to air pollution prevention is of great aid in monitoring the organizations, companies and establishments in doing the endeavor.
Another is the banning of the use of fire in burning grasses and bushes in forest, fields and backyards. Also, the smoking of cigars or tobaccos should be banned. This will reduce the pollutants that drive into the air and will have fresh quality of air to breathe for the residents. This is not only for the fresh air but likewise to lengthen the life of the people, the neighbor regions and also for the tourists who will visit the Central Valley. The reduce, recycle and reuse strategy or method could help reduce pollutants in the environment. Those biodegradable materials can be decomposed and used as fertilizers instead of using spray fertilizers or burning these materials. The hazardous chemicals can be covered appropriately and if not in use will be disposed properly so it will not cause any harm to anyone. On the transportation aspect, the zero-emission vehicles such as electric vehicles will help in order to reduce pollution. A clean and renewable energy and resources could help save the environment as well as the lives of the people especially the younger generations in the future.


Berg, N. 2011. Why Does California's Central Valley Have Such Bad Air Pollution?. Atlantic Citylab Web, [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed on 22 March 2015].
Carle, D. 2006. California National History Guides: Introduction to Air in California. United States of America: Regents of the University of California.
Fogg, G., Hinton, D., Johnson, M., & Scow, K. 2000. Integrated Assessment of Ecosystem Health. United States of America: CRC Press LLC.
Holgate, S., Koren, H., Maynard, R., & Samet, J. 1999. Air Pollution and Health. n.p.: Academic Press.
Jacobson, M. 2012. Air Pollution and Global Warming: History, Science and Solutions. United States of America: Cambridge University Press.
Marsa, L. 2013. California’s Air Pollution Causes Asthma, Allergies and Premature Births. Science for the Curious Discover, [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed on 22 March 2015].
National Academy of Engineering. 1974. Air Quality and Automobile Control: A Report. Volume 1-3. Washington: US Government Printing Office.
Pettit, D. 2014. Why is California ‘worst’?. Cable News Network (CNN), [online]. Available at <> [Accessed on 22 March 2015].

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