Augusta has pollution, too

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October 9, 2006

Think air pollution, you probably think cities like New York, LA, Atlanta.

But it's happening right here in Augusta, and affecting everyone around us. In fact, there's a meeting about our pollution in about a month.

Meteorologist Adam Clark tells us what's being done to keep it down in an area full of industry.

Most of the time pollution generated by factories along the "Miracle Mile" is blown eastward, away from Augusta, because the predominate wind is from the west. So what about the folks living across the river in beech island, where they are usually downwind from these facilities?

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control monitors the air quality to make sure it is safe.

"And that has happened before, where a plume comes over to Beech Island and affects the citizens there," says Myra Reece, Air Quality Bureau chief for DHEC. "And we have a very good line of communication from officials in Georgia. So they can alert the citizens about the release."

Reece says Georgia and South Carolina are partners in keeping the air clean and they have to work together to keep it that way.

She says industry is not the only culprit when it comes to polluting the air. All you need to do to find the problem is look in your driveway!

"Most people don't realize that mobile sources probably contribute up to half of the air pollution with the air quality issues," Reece says.

Reece says officials and citizens in South Carolina and Georgia plan to meet this fall to discuss ways to reduce air pollution, which boils down to reducing traffic and encouraging mass transit.

The Environmental Protection Agency looks at our area's air quality standards every five years. If we don't meet certain standards, they could put us under new regulations.