How air pollution impacts North Carolina’s urban areas, including the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte-metro area
Ground-level ozone, which is caused mainly by emissions from cars and trucks and from coal-burning power plants that supply most of our electricity, is the root cause of the two main air pollution problems in the Triangle and Piedmont regions of North Carolina. Warm temperatures combined with ground-level ozone make breathing for residents in our area unhealthy.
In 2002, a hot, dry year, we experienced 29 Ozone Action Days of air quality code orange or red in the Triangle, 31 in the Triad, and 36 in the Charlotte area. That’s about a month of unhealthful air conditions in each of North Carolina’s three major population centers. This isn’t a problem that will go away anytime soon.
Our warm seasons are getting longer and the temperatures are getting hotter, which means our air quality is getting worse.
The statistics on health impacts to African Americans and local air pollution are concerning, but what’s even more concerning is African Americans have decided that asthma is just a way of life for us. If and when we get diagnosed, we pick up our prescriptions, take our dose of medication as directed and move on with our life. But we don’t have to.
We have the power to create change.