May 4th, 2010


3 coal-fired power plants contribute to pollution in the greater Birmingham area- image via Southern Environmental Law Center

The Birmingham area has some of the worst air quality in the nation, ranking fifth worst in particulate pollution and 19th-worst for ozone pollution for the whole nation, according to the American Lung Association.

Why care? Poor air quality costs us jobs and economic development opportunities. We lost $5 billion in economic development because of failure to comply with federal clean-air standards. At a time when unemployment is over 10 percent, we just can’t afford to lose jobs.

Low air quality impacts the health of everyone in the metro Birmingham area, especially low-income Alabamians. Children and the elderly, who are more likely to live in poverty, are also more likely to suffer ill health effects from pollution.

There are many factors causing particulate and ozone pollution in Birmingham, including coal-fired power plants, geography, weather, long commute times, and lack of environmental standards enforcement.

How can you be part of the solution?

–       advocating for stricter environmental controls

–       commute smart and consume less energy

–       educate others by sharing how air pollution has negatively impacted you and your community

Alabama First and the Southern Environment Law Center are two good places to learn more about our pollution problem.

Visit our Environment and Poverty Resources for more about how the environment affects poverty.

Posted by Robyn Hyden