Friday , May 24 2024

As Valley Recovers From Smoggiest Period In Decades, Disagreement Continues Over Prevention

If you spent time in the San Joaquin Valley over the holidays, the recent rain probably has you breathing a sigh of relief—not just because it’s bringing much needed rain and snow, but also because it’s the first time in weeks you can safely breathe. This story looks back at one of the most severe periods of smoggy air in decades. When James Collins isn’t studying social work at Fresno State, he drives for the rideshare company Lyft. He sees a lot of open sky and bright sun. Starting in late December, though, he says the sky looked different. “Sometimes the sun would pop through in the evenings,” he says. “Some days, though, it wouldn’t. It’d just stay hazy and foggy or smoggy.” Beginning December 21, concentrations of particulate matter, or microscopic particles in the air, began to climb. Collins noticed his body responding. He started wheezing. Then, “throughout the day I would have a lot of small headaches,” he says. “That had me concerned, that kind of raised eyebrows for me.”

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