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The Impact of Air Quality

Daily events of life mounts so much pressure on individuals. Though, work provides income and sense of security in the family, it is also one of the contributing factors to human stress. For example, when a boss demands too much from you or business performance in the market is not good, then, one has a reason to be stressed. Moreover, children need to learn and make new friends. Therefore, recreation and leisure has played an important role in  relieving stress, creating an opportunity for interaction and creation of enjoyment (Porter, 2000). Therefore, leisure plays an important role in stabilization of humanity through interaction and elimination of psychological hazards, which are harmful to human health. However, when these people need to enjoy and relieve themselves off the shelves of stress, they encounter certain issues in recreation that deny them the right to enjoy the benefits of recreational facilities fully. This paper shall discuss on air quality standards issue and how it is related to outdoor recreational and leisure activities in California

All human beings must have contact with air in their daily lives. Therefore, anybody who wishes to have an outdoor or indoor recreation or leisure activity will have physical contact with air. This is because air is cheap and free but a necessary basic need that one cannot do without. Therefore, clean and healthy air is essential for all recreational activities. Currently, Californian counties have lower standards of air quality. Numerous regions in California both urban and rural have failed to meet the minimal expected standards of 03, COand PM (Moussiopoulos, 2010). The air quality standards have deteriorated as a result of emission of 03, CO and PM gases. In California, the standards have gone low due to presence of farm plantations like those in Bakersfield, which emit these gases from the mist of fertilizers and pesticides, apart from the tractors and trucks, hauling farm produce (Moussiopoulos, 2010). As a result, those expose to this air through inhalation develop respiratory irritation symptoms, asthmatic diseases and they temporarily loss their lung function.

Exposure to PM increases death rates, hospital admissions and may lead to development of lung cancer. This has affected outdoor recreational activities to greater extends. For example, public health officers advise the citizens to reschedule outdoor recreational activities on the days that air pollution levels have gone high or the air quality is low. Moreover, poor air quality has adversely affected the health of most people who are recreating on the mountains and forests in California. The poor air quality in those regions makes those who recreate in those regions to suffocate and develop lung failure. As a result, people refrain from mountain and forest camping. Poor quality of air also causes poor visibility of the mountains. Thus, mountain viewers and residents prefer not to go to mountain viewing due to the depreciated quality of mountain viewing (Griffin, 2006). Additionally, the poor quality of air is a big threat to most of the outdoor recreational facilities. For instance, poor air quality especially the 03 gas is responsible for global warming.

Global warming has threatened the skiing sites in California. Skiing has been a major source of employment to American citizens and a major contributor of millions of dollars to the country’s economy. Global warming is also responsible for threatening the health of the alpine forests in California, apart from threatening to extinct the fish species found in cold water (Griffin, 2006). Air quality is interfering with cold water fishing recreational activities in California. The air quality is of importance to outdoor recreational activities in California. Untill something is done about the air quality, outdoor recreational activities in California will have reduced profitability and lead to loss of jobs in California.

The air quality interference in California is as old as the discovery and use of fire by man. However, it begun being a major issue with the beginning of ownership and use of cars in California in the 1930s, where a state of six million people registered to million cars ownership (Godish, 2003). It was not until 1938, when sulfur dioxide and dust fall stations were set up in the US. By 1940s, out of seven million Californians, 2.8 million Californians had registered vehicles. Californians started experiencing the impacts of poor air quality in 1943 (Godish, 2003). There was smog visibility during summer and people suffered from tingling eyes, respiratory problems and headaches. This was blamed on butadiene plant and the authorities threatened to shut it down if the conditions would not have improved. Bureau of smoke Control was established in the health department of Los Angeles city in 1945.

Raymond R. Tucker studies of Los Angeles recommended on the need of country-wide cooperation in dealing with the smog problem in 1946. Air Pollution Control Act was approved in 1947 by the Californian governor Earl Warren, which demanded creation of Air Pollution Control district in every county in the state. By 1948, 20 people were killed 12,000 admitted in hospitals as a result of uncontrolled air pollution in Pennsylvanian industries (Moussiopoulos, 2010).

Griffin (2006) argues that by 1950, California had 11 million people of which 4.5 million people had registered vehicles. The federal government enacted Federal Air Pollution Control Act in 1955, which provided for study and technical assistance to the secretary of Health, education and welfare. Thus, it permitted the secretary to research on causes and impacts of air pollution. Another major milestone in Californian air quality history was in 1959, when state Department of public health established state-wide air quality standards and controls for vehicle emissions. As a result, Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board was established in 1960, which tested and licensed devices to be installed on vehicles for sale (Godish, 2003). The state came up with Positive Crankcase automotive ventilation in 1961, which greatly reduced the cases of air pollution by automobiles. However, this device was not installed until 1963, when it was mandatory that the entire domestic and passenger vehicle for sale in the state were supposed to install the device. Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board also endorsed Chrysler exhaust systems alongside other four independent companies in 1964. In 1965 and 1966, the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board started documenting consistent ozone gas concentration and espoused the HC and CO auto tail pipe emission standards (Godish, 2003).

In 1967, Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board and Bureau of Air Sanitation were merged to form the California Air Resources Board in a law, assented by Governor Ronald. The new board set up new standards of air quality, concerning the particle of photochemical oxidants, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide in the Californian atmosphere. In the 1970s, the Board also regulated agricultural burning and the nationwide automobile NOx standards. The Federal Clean Air act was ratified, which demanded appraisal of all national ambient air quality standards in a period of three years. By 1996, California had a total of 26 million registered vehicles. The situation resulted into development of acidic rains in the rural areas and toxic air pollution. In the same year, automobile creators chose to manufacture and sell vehicle with zero emission.

 In 1998, the ARB identified diesel as the leading air toxic contaminant. It also amended regulations controlling off road engine like the lawn mowers. Harrop (2001) contends that by 2007, the ARB was able to control air emission on ship green houses and diesel. Currently, automobile producers are working at producing more vehicles that are at zero emission of gases, which interfere with the air quality. However, the rate of vehicle ownership and population grow on daily basis and the number of toxic air in the Californian atmosphere increases by hundreds of tones on yearly basis. The federal government, ERB and ARB have been closely working on improving the air quality. However, the Federal government under Obama did away with the ERB regulations on air quality since 2008. The federal government is yet to implement newer regulations on air quality.

People are expecting even more strict rules to control industrial emissions from the federal government. Meanwhile, the health officers have advised people to avoid active outdoor physical activities, which increase the rate of breathing. This is to ensure that people do not breathe in polluted air, which might be harmful to their health. Moreover, they are advised if they are engaged in outdoor activities they should avoid areas with vehicle traffic because those regions have high concentration of toxic air (Griffin, 2006). If not, people are advised to stay indoors and lock their doors and windows to avoid exposure to contaminated air. They are also advised to avoid dust, smoke and tobacco, which limit air freshness in these regions with poor air quality.

All public (state and local) and private agencies have their roles to play in mitigation of air quality in California. Standard air quality is not only of benefit to recreational activities but to the society at large. Poor air quality leads to death and higher rates of hospital admission. If the public and private agencies and businesses wish to make profits, they need the customers. Unhealthy customers will not spend their time buying products and services, when they are sick, because they will use their funds on paying hospital bills rather than buying products and services (Harrop, 2001). Therefore, their health is of great importance to the profitability of business firms. The governor, too, is appointed by this people to serve them. Therefore, the health of citizens of California is of great importance to every public office holder and to the industrialists. Thus, all industries should adopt all the rules and regulations that aim at decreasing emissions.

Moreover, the governor needs to hasten the process of building Air district permits within their jurisdiction. The ERB and ARB should work towards development of transportation control policies and agencies throughout Californian transport systems. This should include sea, on land and air transport systems. Moreover, there is a need to run several campaigns and public awareness programs that promote purity of air. The government and private institutions need to support green movements. However, these movements need to prove their worth by diligently working towards reduction of air pollution. Additionally, both the state and the federal government should work hand in hand with bodies like ERB and ARB in formulation policies that encourage clean fuel and vehicle programs (Porter, 2000).

The federal government needs to control interstate heavy duty trucks that fall out of county jurisdiction. The federal government and state should also formulate policies, protecting various ecosystems because these ecosystems are contributors to the economy and at creation of employment. The citizens, too, have a role to play. They need to use active transport, and if that is strenuous, they should use public transport. Griffin (2006) holds that tourism and hospitality firms and industries should also know that there is a possibility of climatic change that may interfere with their recreational activities. Therefore, the owners of these businesses should look for alternative recreational activities that will survive in all seasons. There is also a need to create newer technologies that help in maintenance of the threatened recreational facilities like ice for skiing or cold-water fishing activities.  The owners of hospitality and tourism firms also need to look for alternative sources of energy that will be able to support the new technologies employed, when weather changes.

In conclusion, all parties involved must address this issue with a lot of concern and immediacy. Failure to take necessary steps might result to loss of lives, unemployment, low profits or losses and extinction of the natural recreational facilities. Outdoor recreational activities heavily depend on the air quality. The users of outdoor recreational facilities are greatly affected by poor quality of air. Poor air quality standards greatly affect outdoor recreational activities in three main ways. It may hurt the consumers of these activities, stop the consumers of these activities from using the resources or destroy the available outdoor recreational facilities (Griffin, 2006). The results of these three are same to outdoor recreation and leisure: unemployment and reduced profitability. Therefore, it is a matter of great importance that the legislators, senators, municipal, citizens and the industries involved should work towards improving the air quality standards, before it is too late (Griffin, 2006). A poor air quality standard is not an issue in tourism and hospitality industry alone but all other industries and individuals. If you did not lose your job, then your profits would be at risk. If you think they will not affect you, then, keep in mind that your health is at risk. Therefore, to have the best air quality standards, everybody has to take a responsibility in prevention of air pollution, preservation of positive air quality standards and general conservation of the environment.

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