Polluting The Pines
Caddo Parish has reached the EPA’s limit for ground ozone pollution and for some areas, fossil fuel emissions is an obvious source. Oddly, some parish leaders claim that trees are our main source. One leader even suggested to cut down the trees. There is some science behind their claims but also, a human factor is still the cause of o-zone.
Most people expect the cause of ground ozone or smog, to solely come from car or factory emissions, but trees and other vegetation release compounds that are needed to create ozone. Those emissions and compounds come together to form pollutant.
DEQ Environmental scientist, Michael Vince, says that cars and factories emit nitrogen oxides or fossil fuel emissions which is a main component of ozone.
VOC’s are released through things like paint or gas fumes from fueling stations.
Vince says that 92 percent of VOC’s in the Shreveport area come from biological sources like trees.
A 2004 Princeton study claims that fast growing trees, like pines, emit the most pollutants.
LSU AG Department Forestry agent, Ricky Kilpatrick, says that plant life has been around for millennia and today’s pollution is caused by man. Kilpatrick says that cutting trees down will only make pollution worse in the area and about 45 percent of Caddo Parish is forest land.
Vince says sunlight causes the reaction between VOC’s and nitrogen oxides that form ozone. Factors like stagnant dry air can make the problem worse.
Those conditions are why ground ozone can worsen in the summer but levels can get high during other seasons like spring. Ground ozone has no connection with ozone layer close to the edge of space which protects us from the sun’s UV rays. The EPA has yet to officially declare Caddo Parish a non-attainment area. If they do, parish leaders say that could mean problems for businesses. Plans are currently being made to keep the parish from crossing the limit.
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