Air Quality in Delaware

by Travis Turner
A recent test done by the American Lung Association discovered that air quality has been decreasing in several parts of Delaware. The three counties all scored poorly on the high ozone days category. Kent county received a C, Sussex received a D, and New Castle received a F. However, both Kent and Sussex received an A for their particle pollution, while New Castle received a D.  Kevin Stewart who is the Environmental Health Director believes these low ratings are due to several main factors. The biggest cause of this is that I – 95 runs right through most of New Castle. Cars, trucks and buses are big contributors to ozone pollution. New Castle is also home to a fairly large commuter work force. Another interesting cause of the pollution can be considered a negative externality. Delaware is located downwind to several high polluting businesses. Since they are not in the state borders, unfortunately there is not much Delaware can do about it.
I believe this air quality issue needs to be addressed on a national level for any significant change to occur. We currently take clean air for granted and we really shouldn’t. There are countries out there who do not have the luxury of clean air. Countries like China deal with smog and acid rain due to their high levels of pollution. Realistically I don’t think we will ever end up in their position, but that doesn’t mean we should not put some effort into improving our current air quality.

6 thoughts on “Air Quality in Delaware

  1. I do agree with Travis that air quality should become a more important issue throughout our country. However, I’m not sure that turning it over to the national level for them to solve it is really the best solution. As we have seen throughout the semester, it is harder for things to get done at the federal level because there are more factors to consider. For example, each state has different levels of air quality and as such it would be hard to develop a national policy that each state has to abide by. Instead, I think it should be handled at the state level so that each state can come up with a realistic standard of air quality that they can work towards overtime. Air quality is not an issue that should be underestimated as it can have serious health repercussions. Therefore, the sooner states can develop these policies and begin enforcing them, the better.

  2. I definitely believe that air quality in Delaware should be focused on more and taken seriously. The fact that Delaware is surrounded by a significant amount of infrastructure makes having quality air a difficult unit to improve. I agree that this issue should be dealt with on a national level because the state has not made any effort to fix the negative externalities. Clean air should not be taken advantage of.

  3. Air quality is a minor yet important issue on the environmental agenda. I believe this should be an important issue moving forward but each state has to do its job to make the air quality better for their residents. Making it a national issue will just make it too broad and unachievable. I know even noticing air quality differences coming from Bridgewater New Jersey to Chester Pennsylvania was a drastic change that my body noticed. Travis explains how the pollution on I-95 is some of the cause for the air quality and you can probably say the same thing about chester considering the same highway separates the area.

  4. A completely agree with Travis. The interstate issue between these businesses, pollution caps, and being able to decrease the air quality of people not even in your state to progress a huge capitalistic gain has gone too far. This will persist because the whole idea behind capitalism is the greed of corporations and the desire for money. Nothing will get done at the state level. We can preach on and on about how the states SHOULD be doing what would be best for the environment and how it is just and eco-friendly, but as long as they are not regulated by strict standards that they must follow they will continue to walk all over the grave they are slowly digging for themselves by polluting and destroying without a view of the future.

  5. Clearly we need clean air. However can we say that everyone has the RIGHT to clean air? Of course many would answer an obvious yes to that, but this article reminds me of a conversation that was held in my environmental science class and the main question was ‘should people have the right to clean air ‘ and since we see it as a right, how far should the government extend itself to ensure that right is not being violated. If all can agree to “yes” for the question posed about, more implementation of environmental policies should be implemented. Period. Also a focus on areas such as Delaware should take place.

  6. This is a difficult issue because air pollution knows no borders and if it blows down wind, the perpetrator sees no problem. This issue is also one that we usually cannot visually see so it gets forgotten until it becomes a more serious issue. I don’t think that we are at a point where we can feasibly expect anything to happen at a national level because not all states see it as a serious issue. I do, however, believe that there should be more interstate talks as to what should be done about this. Clean air is necessary for all life and we should not have worry about taking a breathe of fresh air.

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