Environment Illinois is speaking out about yesterday's Orange alert for air quality in Chicago. The alert was the first of the season and indicates higher levels of ozone pollution, which can be especially harmful to those with respiratory and heart diseases as well as children and the elderly.
Coal-fired power plants and vehicles are the main causes of the pollution, according to Environment Illinois. The group's field organizer, Catherine Krasner, issued the following statement in response to yesterday's Orange alert:
Taking a breath should not leave Illinoisans children gasping for air. But with today’s elevated level of smog pollution, some groups in Chicago—such as children, people with lung disease, and older adults—are at risk. In Chicago, the more than 964,548 residents who suffer from asthma, including more than 246,248 children, are particularly at risk of more asthma attacks, difficulty breathing, and reduced lung function.
Power plants and vehicles in Illinois are the biggest culprits. They are putting tens of thousands of tons of smog-forming pollution into our air each year and putting Illinoisans’ health at risk.
All Illinoisans have the right to breathe clean air. The “orange alert” unhealthy air day yesterday means that people who suffer from respiratory disease in Chicago are directly at risk of health problems. As summer heats up, warmer weather and stronger sunlight will increase levels of dangerous smog pollution in the area unless power plants and vehicles clean up their act. The biggest polluters should be required to limit dangerous pollution to ensure that kids and families in Chicago can breathe easy.