Hard feelings foul our local atmosphere in the ongoing debate about cruise-ship operations here. Opponents warn that expansion of that business in Charleston would elevate serious air-pollution health hazards.
And local and state medical associations have backed that objection. Still, it’s good to know that even as cruises come to and go from Charleston, we are likely breathing easier than folks in New York City.
At least that’s a logical assumption drawn from a recent New York Daily News report on an “expert” analysis of the big air-quality hazards in the Big Apple. According to that story, scientist/author Bill Logan “finds New York City’s air is full of foreign matter, including rubber and rust” and “bacteria, pollen, clothing fiber, fungus, tire rubber, dead skin cells, cooking fat and carbon emissions.”
Mr. Logan, the Brooklyn-based author of “Air: The Restless Shaper of the World,” detected “lots of carbon” from bus and auto exhaust, plenty of fat from restaurants and even “tiny bits of colorful glass” near LaGuardia Airport.
The amounts of those materials don’t necessarily pose a major health risk. Plus, there’s bound to be less nicotine in the air up there since last year, when New York City Council, at the insistence of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, added parks to the places where smoking is verboten.
And neither New York nor Charleston made the American Lung Association’s “Top 10” (shouldn’t that be “Bottom 10”?) list of the U.S. cities with the worst air pollution this year. Issued in April, that dubious honor was dominated by California, which produced the entire top 5.
And they said smog was on the way out.
Still, we must remain vigilant about protecting the air quality in Charleston — and elsewhere in our vibrant metropolitan area.
And if you visit New York City, don’t breathe in that vaporized rust too deeply.