A new study shows that toxic air pollution is increasing on a national level, and has been for the past three years, which reverses more than ten years of cleaner air gains. The EPA has published data this week from researchers at prestigious Carnegie Mellon University that show a jump in fine particulate pollution during a three year period that ended in 2018 — prior to that two year jump air pollution had decreased by twenty-five percent in the seven previous years.
Fine particulate air pollution stems largely from coal powered plants and older car emissions. It’s speculated that adding to the fine particulate mix on a national and catastrophic level now are the plumes of smoke from wildfires across the American West, especially in California.
The researchers also speculated that lax enforcement of the current Clean Air Act may also be responsible for the rise in particulate matter in the atmosphere, as the Trump administration looks the other way at minor infractions of the law among utility companies, mining corporations, and chemical plants. The increasing use of natural gas in cars and in heavy industry is also part of the problem because even though natural gas is touted as a completely clean fuel it can put a small residue of particulate matter into the atmosphere when used in inefficient and older model engines.