Polluted Parks: How Dirty is the Air Really?

There’s “no industrial activity for miles. But under new ozone rules out of Washington, these national treasures would actually violate clean air laws,” the ad’s narrator says. “If national parks can’t comply, how can your community?”

The ad featured in this article was created by an industrial group that is trying to convince viewers that the air in the national parks is clean, and that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ozone limits are too rigorous. However, the advertisement neglects to mention a very basic and fundamental scientific principle: there is a difference between a solid and a gas; that air pollution is different to that of a discarded piece of scrap plastic.


If the narrator says that the air at the Yosemite National Park is fine to breathe, then the neighboring community must be in the same boat.

According to The Guardian, smog is responsible for the increased suffering of those with lung conditions such as asthma, which claims up to 7 million people’s lives each year. Secondhand generated smog is also responsible, and is primarily generated by coal plants and other large industrial operations.

According to a report released in July, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) noted that “pollution seeps into our national parks from sources like coal-fired power plants, vehicles, and the oil and gas industries,” creating the haze pollution that limits how far you can see. The NPCA acknowledged that up to 75 percent of the parklands are sometimes unhealthy.

The EPA is expected to set its final ozone limits before October 1st. Pollution is a reality, not some myth that has been conjured up by the powers to be.

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