A New Villain: Air Pollution
Parents have been performing heroic feats since the dawn of time. Growing up, my mom worked the night shift as a medical technician but would still wake herself up for 3 hours in order to greet my sister and I coming home from school. She’d cook dinner for us and then help us with our homework before returning to sleep for another 3 hours before she had to get up for work.
In the 6th grade, my Dad magically pieced together a believable rainforest diorama an hour before the bus arrived because my little sister “forgot” it was due that day. More recently, I’ve witnessed my boss leave from downtown DC to the Maryland suburbs in half an hour during rush hour to get to his kids baseball game.
Parents do these and many other amazing things every day. They have the power to silence rude strangers with one stare. They use their super sensitive hearing to catch teens sneaking in during a broken curfew and they can make time stand still when grounding said teenagers.
Unfortunately, one of the few things parents can’t do is prevent air pollution from harming their children. Not that they wouldn’t try if given the chance—my Dad made for a pretty awesome ninja when I told him years ago there was a monster hiding the bed but let’s be real: Parents fighting dirty air would be like Batman fighting the Joker, ten Storm troopers AND Ursula from the Little Mermaid without his utility belt—it would simply be a losing battle.
Even more frightening than make-believe villains is the reality of the disparities in of impact of air pollution. While the amount of money a family has or where they live do not determine how much love the parents in these families have for their children, studies have shown that these factors of income and socioeconomic position do determine the impact air pollution has on children’s health. According to the study by the National Resources Defense Council,
The good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom. As it turns out, strict EPA clean air standards can help communities breathe easier. According to the EPA, improved air standards have the ability to prevent 130,00 asthma attacks and 2,800 cases of chronic bronchitis a year. Strict air standards empower parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents nationwide to guard against the harmful effects of air pollution. Please contact your Senators and Congressional representatives and ask them to support strict EPA clean air standards.