California's Response to Pollution in Bakersfield Brings "Small Yet Steady" Improvements
Feb 15, 2017 07:34 AM EST
Recent years have seen improvements in Bakersfield when it comes to air quality standards and efficient industrial machines. However, the California region reportedly continues to experience poor air quality along with the health conditions it brings. With President Donald Trump appointing Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, it is expected that the small improvements to easing pollution in Bakersfield will be reversed.
With Pruitt being noted by The New York Times to be openly opposed to air quality regulations, local activists in Bakersfield have expressed their doubts over the possible limits that the Trump administration could bring in improving air quality in the region. In a report by The Guardian, a local activist named Gustavo Aguirre Jr. was featured; he said progress in reducing pollution in Bakersfield has been slow. This includes the communities surrounding the region, such as the San Joaquin Valley that relies heavily on the oil and agricultural industry.
"The potential of us going backwards 50 or 60 years in air pollution control and mitigation is very scary,” says Aguirre. The worst air in the United States may soon be getting worse. However, the report noted that officials responsible for addressing pollution in Bakersfield have been confident that the Air Pollution Control District have done the most in solving the issue.
“Over the last 25 years, air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley – from the stationary sources we regulate – has been reduced by over 80% with some of the toughest air regulations in place anywhere in the nation,” executive director Seyed Sadredin said. Such efforts to ease pollution in Bakersfield include a collaboration with farmers in reducing agricultural waste burning as well as providing funds for trading older farm equipment, to name a few.
According to Sadredin, reducing the pollution in Bakersfield and other cities in the state should be ultimately addressed by California’s Air Resources Board to monitor and regulate mobile sources of pollution, including cars, trucks and trains. While local and state regulations have significantly contributed to the reduction of air pollution in Bakersfield, other options are yet to be fully utilized such as incentive programs and state grants. Simple initiatives among community members, such as encouraging more people to ride bikes instead of cars, are expected to play an important role as well.