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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Central PA has some of worst air in the country

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 3, 2015 11:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, August 3, 2015:

The American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report for 2015 concluded the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon region has the 12th worst air in the nation for year-round particle pollution.  The region actually lost ground finishing 33rd in 2014.

The drop in rankings doesn't mean the region's air quality is worse, but is still a reason to be concerned.

How did it get that way and maybe the better question is what can be done to improve the region's air quality?

Appearing on Monday's Smart Talk to answer those questions and others are Margaret Parsons, the Healthy Air Campaign Coordinator with the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic and Thomas Au, President of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania.

Mike Ridgeway, the Executive Director of Dream Ride Projects and Program Director for the Air Quality Partnership of the Susquehanna Valley in Lancaster joins us to discuss transportation alternatives and education as ways to improve the region's air quality.

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Thomas Au and Dr. Margaret Parsons

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  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:03

    Marianne writes...
    One concern about air quality that affects my neighborhood every winter are the fireplaces, that are in each and every house. There are days when the air is so thick with smoke that it is hard to breathe, Factory chimneys have "scrubbers", why do private fireplaces have no requirements for clean emissions?

    Btw, judging from the smell, wood is not the only fuel being burned.

    We have a no burn policy (outdoors), but I don't think that pertains to fireplaces?

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:04

    Judy says...
    I would like to see a ban on fire pit burning from May thru Oct. My neighbors built a big fire pit and pollute the neighborhood regularly.

    I know that home improvement shows have convinced people that every backyard needs a firepit, but the air smells so bad I can't sit out or even work in my yard without triggering an asthma attack.

    In an area that has air quality problems, why do we need fire pits in our backyards in the summer? Thanks, Judy in Palmyra

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:05

    Andrew asks...
    There are air purifiers for homes that add o zone to the air as well as ionized hydro peroxides. What are the benefits and can it be harmful breathing added manufactured O zone and the chemical hydro peroxides?

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:06

    John comments...
    Don’t forget the idling of train locomotives. Some years ago the citizens of Dauphin Borough challenged Norfolk Southern for the trains sitting for many hours on tracks adjacent to Route 322/22. With high train traffic congestion some trains sit for many hours waiting to get into Enola, Rutherford, and Lucknow yards.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:07

    Kevin responds...
    All locomotives built in the last 10 years have an automatic shutdown that takes effect to save fuel. But, the engines will turn on if the air pressure in the brakes gets low. Also, the crew in the lead engine can override the shutoff on that engine only. There is nothing worse then being stuck in a black painted engine on a hot summer day.
    In the Winter, the engines have to run to keep the water from freezing. They do not use anti-freeze

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:08

    Thomas adds...
    in my view i do not think it is that such a big deal. in lancaster county the LARGEST polluter of C o2 is the lancaster county trash incinerator.

    so if someone burns a bag of trash i do not think that is a big deal.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-03 10:09

    Jim comments...
    Thank you for the lady from Aaronsburg about home garbage burning. WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM IN PERRY COUNTY.

    People have a burn barrel, and they just stuff their garbage in it, toss a match on it, and let it smolder.....sometimes as much as 24 hours.