Friday, February 24, 2017

Thank You, EPA

From the Twitter feed of Robert Rohde, ‏@rarohde, a few days ago:

The worst places for particulate air quality in the USA are still less polluted than the best air in eastern China. Thank you, EPA:
Check that out. The purplish bars (at left) are the percentages of land area in the U.S. that fell within particular pollution concentrations in 2015. There's a red line around the 10 mark, and almost all of the U.S. land area is below that. The pinkish bars represent the lands of eastern China. The least polluted place is almost twice as bad as the most polluted place in the U.S., and most of the land is three to six times as bad. Beijing is about seven times as bad.

This is partly because the U.S. (with tacit consent from all of us) has outsourced its toxicity to China. But it's also because EPA regulation is effective. Unfortunately, the people who are now in charge of our government think it's no longer necessary.

The same day I saw this graph, I also came across a post on Grist called Photos: What America looked like before the EPA. The photos were shot in 1972, when the new agency had photographers documenting the country:

There are a few more on the Grist page, but to see more like this one...

...(and other photos of 1970s America that aren't so depressing), check out the full Flickr set.

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