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BAND CARS: NOT FIRES

Listening to a public radio station in Seattle, the local weather forecast mentions weather "inversion," where cold air meets warmer air, causing the ground to be smothered in fog. This according to the radio announcement will create "stale" air of unhealthy quality, in lower elevations. But we are reassured that this will only last a few days, until the blanket of fog has uplifted from the region. With the pollution trapped a midst an urban corridor along the lower plains between the Olympics and the Cascades, were in for a heavy dose of our own ooze of toxins.
Listening to a public radio station in Seattle, the local weather forecast mentions weather "inversion," where cold air meets warmer air, causing the ground to be smothered in fog. This according to the radio announcement will create "stale" air of unhealthy quality, in lower elevations. But we are reassured that this will only last a few days, until the blanket of fog has uplifted from the region. With the pollution trapped a midst an urban corridor along the lower plains between the Olympics and the Cascades, were in for a heavy dose of our own ooze of toxins. The solution, as announced on the radio is: "a fire band." Never mind the stacks of factories spewing cloud size pollutants into the air by day, and millions of people stuck in peak hour traffic on I-5, the solution according to the "fire band," is to quit heating your home or campsite with wood. About 38% of the carbon dioxide suffocating us in the northwest area are from factories, power plants, landfills, and of course fires. The other sixty-two percent are from; you guessed it, turning the ignition to carry us to work. Why would a family reliant on a wood stove to heat their house over a cold winter evening, chose to freeze their ass off, while CEOs' rally to work in a SUVs'? How does one really regulate a "fire band," and when we receive an advisory such as having "stale" air, what does this equate to, possible respiratory problems, coughing, wheezing, sneezing for a day, should we wear breathing apparatuses on these days? And if we're advising anything, shouldn't it be a day without a car, during days where pollutants hover at mouth height, due to weather "inversions." At least then, we would be a larger part of a real solution, to days of poorer air quality.
umm, i think it's "ban" 15.Dec.2005 22:25

that you're looking for

i think the word you are looking for is "ban".

from dictionary.com ----

"ban - transitive verb
-- to prohibit or forbid esp. by legal means (as by statute or order) <ban solicitation>; also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of <legislation to ban DDT>"

apart from this small quibble, i agree with the gist of your post. you ask a reasonable question, why should people stop heating their homes when factories and automobiles cause the majority of our pollution?

also from dictionary.com ----

gist - noun:

1. The central idea; the essence.

quib·ble - noun:

1. A petty distinction or an irrelevant objection.

Some cities help with free public transportation 15.Dec.2005 22:37

not PDXq

Some cities help with "bad air days" by providing free public transportation on days when air pollution exceeds a certain pre-defined point. Not Portland.

For example, our good neighbors to the north in Vancouver, Washington can ride C-TRAN for FREE on "Clean Air Action Days". Ironically, C-TRAN reacts to air advisories from the OREGON Department of Environmental Quality when deciding to run buses for free. I think that high temperatures should be irrelevant; air quality can be just as bad during the winter as during the summer.

I like Tri-Met and use it nearly every day, but I think Tri-Met should do more to help Portland's air quality by offering free transit during these periods. Certainly they can apply for the same grants that Vancouver has. They could use it as a backdoor method of increasing ridership during the rest of the year. I think if they lured people onto the bus or MAX with free fares during Clean Air Action Days, many of these non-riders would decide to use the bus instead of their cars when they realize how convenient Tri-Met can be.

This is an example of a notification from C-TRAN from earlier this year:

"Ride C-TRAN Free Friday and Saturday in Response to Clean Air Action Days

For immediate release: July 22, 2004

Vancouver, WA: As a recipient of a Federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Grant (CMAQ), C-TRAN will provide system-wide free service tomorrow, Friday, July 23 and Saturday, July 24.

Clean Air Action Day advisories are issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency (SWCAA). Clean Air Action Days are called on days when temperatures are high; there is no wind; and pollution from cars, gas powered engines, lawn mowers, and various consumer products, like hair spray, create high levels of smog.

The advisories are issued as a "call to action" for people to reduce the amount of pollutant-causing activities they engage in. C-TRAN hopes that by providing system-wide free service, people will be encouraged to ride the bus, C-VAN, carpool, vanpool or bike.

C-TRAN's free service on these days covers all 26 of its routes, including the eight bi-state commuter routes traveling to and from Portland. Every car left at home on Clean Air Action Days helps keep the level of pollutants down.

According to C-TRAN Executive Director/CEO, Lynne Griffith "C-TRAN Ridership on Clean Air Action Days has increased as much as 20 percent. Citizens can make a positive impact on our air quality by making an alternate commute choice. Being able to offer free service because of the Federal Grant helps to make that choice even easier and new riders don't have to worry about having the correct fare."

In addition to free bus service, C-TRAN provides trip planning assistance and a "How to Ride" guide that includes information on fares, schedules and a system map. C-TRAN also coordinates with employers in Clark County to encourage their employees to ride the bus, carpool or take a vanpool to work on Clean Air Action Days.

For more information call C-TRAN Passenger Services at (360) 695-0123 or visit C-TRAN's Web site at www.c-tran.com. To contact the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, call (503) 229-6918 or visit their Web site at www.deq.state.or.us/ag/."

Just my 2 centavos.

Valley of Smoke 15.Dec.2005 23:25

.

According to legend, the Los Angeles area was called the "Valley of Smoke" by the indigenous folk long before cars sped on the freeways, and refineries dumped their crap to the sky. The reason is that the valley, with the ocean to the west and mountains to the east, would trap air any time there was a temperature inversion.

Long before man invented SMOG this valley would tend to get hazy and foggy. The haze was part dust, part pollen, part smoke from any kind of fire -- just anything that got into the air combined with the salty Pacific air. When an inversion hits, the air in the LA basin just sits there and stagnates.

Note that this is real, but I've heard rightwing smog-denying folk use it as means to excuse and marginalize air pollution.

All the fair weather we've had this season is the result of inversion. The air at lower altitudes just does not mix well with the air above and anything we dump into it comes right back into our faces. And all of this fair weather has been pretty stinky. There's a saying that says -- You can't throw it away -- there is no *away* to throw things to. This becomes extremely true when there are inversion conditions.

So yeah, I tend to agree with Mr. Rathgeb that if you gotta ban something, ban cars during these hard times. Maybe we could use these hard times to improve our awareness of air pollution and it's sources. 'Cause even when our air is "clean", we still produce all the same pollutants. It's just that they go away....................

PHLEGUM 16.Dec.2005 07:20

Dumplin'

Yes Paul, banning the use of cars with only one person in them on bad air days would be effective in raising awareness about air pollution. If you went around in public these days wearing some type of respirator, you'd be stopped by the police who are looking for ecoterrorists. However, if you designed a giant respirator which looked like a huge set of lungs and was effective in cleaning the air you breathe, then declared what you were doing as art (street theatre, for example), you might not end up in jail. Also, another way to raise awareness is to keep a public health expert close by, take off the respirator, let your lungs fill up with pollution and microbes, then when your body starts to reject the various diseases by manufacturing phlegum, when you spit up, have the public health expert immediately diagnose your phlegum, and do what you will with that information...
CARS KILL KIDS.

Save money, the local economy, and the enviroment at the same time 16.Dec.2005 08:11

Keep the money local

Economically this could be a huge stimulant to the local economy. We don't build cars here. We don't drill for oil here. Cars are nothing but a drain on the local economy. If we expanded the light rail, brought back the trolleys and continued to promote bikes we would be way ahead. The war for oil would no longer be in our interest. The Bush family and freinds wouldn't be making tons of money off us. Money we spend on oil wouldn't be going to fund terrorism.

Small point 16.Dec.2005 11:58

Mr. Grrroooovy

The "burn ban" does not apply to homes that use a wood stove or fireplace as their only source of heat.

quibble quibble 16.Dec.2005 19:59

quebble quabble quobble

> About 38% of the carbon dioxide suffocating us in the northwest area are from

The problem is not the carbon dioxide, which is a normal component of the atmosphere since the beginning of time, but the carbon monoxide and soot and unburned petroleum products that are created as a byproduct of various combustion processes.

So these particular statistics aren't necessarily relevant. It is alleged that fireplaces and wood stoves put out more soot ... or something ... than gas furnaces and the coal-fired power plants that power electric space heaters. It's hard to imagine that a fireplace puts out more dangerous pollution than a car.

I think the powers that be are just looking for a scapegoat. They can't restrict auto use without (1) cramping their precious economy, angering corporations and their owners, and (2) pissing off all the people who care more about driving than clean air. The number of people who depend on wood for heat, or prefer fireplaces to TV's, is relatively tiny, and politically expendable.