The District is the exclusive local agency within the South Coast Air
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The District is the exclusive local agency within the South Coast Air Basin with responsibility for comprehensive control of air pollution from all sources other than emissions from motor vehicles. The District is one of several multi-county agencies in California where the geography and demography combine to make local control of air pollution most practical on a regional basis. The South Coast Air Basin generally comprises those natural geopgrphical areas where air quality is influenced by emissions and controls in the Los Angeles megalopolis.
The Air pollution problem in the Basin is generally acknowledged to be one of the most severe in the nation. For metropolitan areas, nationwide in 1979, the Basin exceeded the ozone standard by both suspended particulate and carbon monoxide, the only one judged to have a serious problem with nitrogen dioxide, and among the six areas having serious problems with lead/
The Basin air pollution problems appear to be chronic because of a combination of three essential, but largely intractable, ingredients:
1) Demography: how we have chosen to live on the land and use the earth's resources within the Basin-factors that are deeply embedded in the social fabric;
2) Meteorology: how the Basin's abundant sunshine, gentle winds, and temperature inversions brew and hold pollutants in the Basin air mass-climatological factors that are highly variable, but not subject to significant control; and
3) Geography: how the terrain traps and funnels air pollutant in the Basin's valleys and plains-into places where that same terrain forces most people to live.
If any one of these three ingredients were not present or could be significantly changed, the severe problem of air pollution in the Basin would probably not exist. But given these stubborn ingredients, the general approach to controlling air pollution in the Basin, as elsewhere, has been to look to technical means to undo what demography, meteorology, and geography have wrought.
Here, we use the term technology in a very broad sense to underscore an important distinction. Rather than place the burden for controlling or reducing air pollution on social management techniques, the burden has fallen on technical means. And, since the technology to control air pollution is sometimes costly or unavailable and needs to be nurtured, it has been imposed through go ernmental regulatory programs. To date, in the Basin those regulations have been primarily aimed at industrial and commercial activities that contribute to air pollution.
Many informed observers have concluded that the Basin will not meet the federal air quality standards in the foreseeable future; some doubt that achieving the federal standards is possible even under the most favorable projections of control technology and additional regulation without some fundamental social changes.
Despite this discouraging outlook, the air pollution problem in the Basin has been affected by the controls developed and implemented by the District during the past 30 years. Some aspects of the problem have been significantly improved; and at least some of the adverse effects of growth in population and automobiles have been offset through controls on stationary and mobile sources of air pollution.
But other aspects of the problem, such as oxidants, have persisted and even spread geographically. The recent trends for ozone and nitrogen oxides are disputed because of differing opinions about how to measure their burden on the Basin and because of their changing character; the peak levels, frequency, duration, and geographical extent of excessive concentration.
Most now agree that the easy things have been done in the effort to control air pollution in the Basin. From here on, the effort will necessarily be much more costly or socially intrusive, or both. Some propose tightening up the current regulatory approach with tougher rules and stricter enforcement practices, still applied principally to commercial and industrial activities. Others see the need for more comprehensive rules, reaching out to cover a larger segment of society and its activities.
Up to now, with the exceptions of the 1958 ban on backyard trash incinerators and the 1979 introduction of gasoline vapor recovery nozzles, the control of air pollution in the Basin has avoided direct impacts upon public activities. The principal approach to controlling air pollution in the Basin has been through regulation of commerce and industry, where the cost have been passed on the
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Environmental toxicology, Pollution, Air pollution, Atmospheric dispersion modeling, Pollution in China, Nonpoint source water pollution regulations in the United States
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