Citizen Air Pollution

I spent two hours and fif­teen min­utes yes­ter­day lis­ten­ing to Denny Larson talk about air pol­lu­tion and how cit­i­zens can take ac­tion when the gov­ern­ment won’t. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to spend two hours and fif­teen min­utes there, but the de­ferred pay­off and Denny Larson’s love for hear­ing him­self talk [and who wouldn’t en­joy talk­ing with 4 pho­tog­ra­phers and two re­porters present] en­sured that we were stuck there for two hours and fif­teen min­utes. My im­pres­sion might be in­ac­cu­rate though, be­cause, af­ter two hours and fif­teen min­utes, and no ap­par­ent end in sight, I left ear­ly.

The en­tire rea­son I showed up was to learn how to as­sem­ble home-made air pol­lu­tion mon­i­tors, us­ing five gal­lon buck­ets. Similar “buck­et brigades” as they’re called ex­ist else­where and have worked with some suc­cess. Although they aren’t very high-tech, they are rather ex­pen­sive. Denny Larson men­tioned, two hours in­to the meet­ing, af­ter I asked him, that each buck­et costs about $125 dol­lars to make, most­ly be­cause of the pro­fes­sion­al grade valves that are used. Ever since I start­ed sub­mit­ting pol­lu­tion logs to OCA, they’ve been call­ing me about once a week ask­ing me to help more. I agreed to do some buck­et mon­i­tor­ing, but I can’t af­ford to drop $125 dol­lars for a buck­et and pay the lab fees for the pro­cess­ing. Pollution logs will have to do.

I did hear, al­though no proof was of­fered, that the Ohio EPA and the Cuyahoga County Air peo­ple are get­ting paid for do­ing noth­ing, that they have no portable equip­ment, and that the mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions are ei­ther far away from the pol­lu­tion or not mon­i­tor­ing for the right things at the right time. I al­ready knew that the Ohio EPA doesn’t work be­fore 8 or af­ter 5, so that pol­lut­ing dur­ing off hours is ba­si­cal­ly giv­en free rein. I al­so learned that one short-lived ac­ci­dent can pol­lute more than an en­tire year of nor­mal pro­duc­tion. And even though agen­cies in this area are be­ing paid to mon­i­tor en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, they aren’t do­ing their job and folks in Tremont and Slavic Village have to take mat­ters in­to their own hands. If you’ve got an ex­tra $125 lay­ing around, that is.

The fact that it took two hours and some prompt­ing to get to the ac­tu­al meat of the process is what has me so grouchy this morn­ing. Someone should have been mon­i­tor­ing the hot air be­ing emit­ted from Denny Larson. He should have tak­en no more than an hour, in­clud­ing the as­sem­bly of the buck­ets.

Link of the day: Make a Paper Box in five min­utes. Not two hours and fif­teen min­utes. If you’re crafty you can use in­ter­est­ing things print­ed on pa­per to make in­di­vid­u­al­ized box­es to hold the sev­ered body parts of those dear­est to you. Or not.

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