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Air Pollution in Los Angeles CA

Beginning back in the 1960s, the United States began drafting multiple versions of legislation designed to clean up the area. The intent of these policies was to strengthen existing legislation governing air pollution through the industrialized world, particularly in the United States and in Europe. Commonly referred to as the Clean Air Act, there were limits placed on certain groups of air pollutants, and cities were required to report particulate levels and to state what the were doing to enforce the policies set forth in the legislation. Naturally, Los Angeles is a primary target of the Clean Air Acts. This paper aims to discuss current policies being implemented in the Los Angeles area, look at the long term impacts of air pollution if current curbing measure to not work, and the effect that air pollution has on the minority communities around Los Angeles. Current Public Policies Current policies in place in America overall seem to be having a positive affect. Over the course of the past four decades, levels of carbon monoxide emissions have been reduce by nearly 100 million tons. Nitrogen oxide emission have fallen about 8 million tons, while emissions from sulfur dioxides have been reduced about in half. In general, the United States has seen particulate emissions fall by more than 80% and lead emission by more than 98% (Jerrett and Calle 731). While these figures represent a significant improvement, they do not tell the complete story. Pollution in Los Angeles still remains a serious problem. Certain areas are more polluted that young children and the elderly can handle, leading to countless health issues and even death. The government of Los Angeles County is still seeking ways to reduce pollution across communities for the benefit of all people. For decades, Los Angeles has had some of the, if not the most, polluted air in the country. Los Angeles has the most polluted ozone and the fourth most polluted year-round particulate levels (Su amp. Jerrett 662). Many attribute the problem to the dense population in the city and its notorious traffic congestion. As such, most legislative policies aimed at reducing air pollution have been aimed at reducing traffic related issues. This has not paid dividends, which is one of the contributing factors behind Los Angeles lagging behind other cities its size in reducing the level of toxic chemicals in the air (Linn amp. Szlachcic 429). The public, and indeed the government, see the problem of air pollution as being the most serious environmental issue facing the city (Kunzli amp. Jerrett 202). While the Environmental Protection Agency, an arm of the federal government, has proposed even stricter regulations on air pollution levels and companies that pollute, subsequent presidential administrations have been hesitant to ask out of risk of the adverse economic impact that might result. They also point out the reality that there has been a decrease in the amount of air pollutants in recent decades, yet this is not enough in the eyes of many. Many experts in the field contend that the improvements have only taken the problem from ‘dangerously high’ to ‘dangerous’