The Blue Ridge Mountains are beautiful, and thanks to a decrease in air pollution, the view of the mountains is a little bit clearer.
At a March air quality conference, Mike Abraczinskas, director of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, stated that Western North Carolina’s air quality has improved largely because of reductions in nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, which are released from power plants and motor vehicles. The North Carolina Division of Air Quality reports that 100 million pounds of toxic air emissions have been removed from the atmosphere over the past 18 years due to tighter regulations.
Virginia’s air quality has improved as well, with the amount of chemicals in the air dropping 51 percent from 2004 to 2017, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
The National Parks Conservation Association, a nonprofit organization, released a report in May describing the extent of air pollution in the national parks. There are 417 national parks in the United States and, according to the report, 96 percent are damaged by at least one of the following results of air pollution: unhealthy air, pollution that harms sensitive species and habitats, haze that limits visibility, or climate change.
The Trump administration has proposed weakening multiple current federal air pollution standards. — By Jamie Tews