Letter: Driving into a future dead zone
As I descended Rainier Hill on my way to shop in Longview, Washington, the acrid odor of toxic pollution in the air began to burn in my nose. My husband had cautioned me not to go over to Longview that day, Dec. 8, and as I drove down the hill I could clearly see the miasma that covered Rainier, the Columbia River and Longview.
Realizing the danger of this toxic air, I turned around and traveled to Clatskanie for my shopping. Of course, not all the items on my list were available in Clatskanie, but at least the air was breathable. Returning home, I noticed on my way the variance of the pollution odors.
Fortunately, living at the 900-foot level, we are sheltered somewhat from the air pollution that sinks to the lower elevations. One can't help but wonder why people who encounter this filthy poison in our air aren't outraged, aren't writing to our newspapers, to our commissioners, to our representatives to demand that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stop the causes of this recurrent poisoning of our citizens.
I can stay home, somewhat protected from this recurrent event, but there have been times when I need to work, to provide, and I've had no choice but to enter the smog zones. It is unconscionable that our political leaders not only turn a blind eye to the poisoning of our nation, but those in power now actually encourage it.
We must not allow them to kill us with new industrial pollution along the lower Columbia Corridor. We must point out the obvious; we are becoming a dead zone where "pollution will increase to dangerous levels."
Consider the local forecast for Dec. 8:
"Lower Columbia-I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County — Including the cities of St. Helens, Clatskanie, Longview, Kelso, and Castle Rock 439 AM PST Fri Dec 8 2017
AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST MONDAY
AIR QUALITY... Air quality may deteriorate due to an extended period of stagnant air conditions.
TIMING ... through Monday morning.
LOCATIONS ... The Lower Columbia and I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County
IMPACTS ... Limited ventilation may result in deteriorating air quality.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS ... An Air Stagnation Advisory indicates that due to limited movement of an air mass across the advisory area, pollution will increase to dangerous levels. Persons with respiratory illness should follow their physician's advice for dealing with high levels of air pollution."