American Lung Association names Fairfield County one of most polluted counties

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American Lung Association names Fairfield County one of most polluted counties

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By Chelsea Fox ’19

Fairfield County was rated as one of the most air polluted counties in the United States in a 2018 report from the American Lung Association that came out earlier this month, with dangerous levels of ozone being the most problematic.

 

While many Westport residents were shocked to hear this, AP Environmental Science teacher Cecilia Duffy, was not. “[The ozone levels are] from the morning commute, [when] the jet stream pushes it over here and we get it,” Duffy said. “because of the way the wind blows and because of where we live, it’s unfortunate for us.”

 

Save Westport Now, an organization dedicated to preserving Westport neighborhoods, claims that Fairfield County’s levels of ozone are higher than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard by 10 percent.

 

Large amounts of ozone can lead to a variety of detrimental health defects. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, risks include: chest pain, airway inflammation and harm to lung tissue.

 

“Fairfield County is the worst ozone pollutant county of any county east of the Mississippi River,” Michael Seilback, of the American Lung Association’s Northeast Region, said.

 

Despite this ranking of Fairfield County, Duffy suggests that use of electric cars and other types of transportation, such as trains, will help regulate the levels of ozone present.

 

Ella de Bruijn ’18 agreed that Westport could be doing a better job looking after the environment. “In the school, for example, some bins are labeled single stream whereas others will just be labeled paper or bottles,” de Bruijn said. “This leads to confusion and in the end all of the bins are contaminated because nobody knows what’s going on.”

 

Sarah Sherts ’18 agreed that there is work to be done in Fairfield County regarding the protection of the environment. “[In] Fairfield County,”  Sherts said, “we are unaware of the waste we produce because it is out of sight and out of mind.”

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