The fight for clean air

Think back to the last day we had bad air quality. Maybe your kids didn’t go to football practice or you didn’t go for a morning run. We may view this as an accidental inconvenience, but the fact is that 38 out of 39 million Californians, almost all of us, regularly breathe air that compromises our well-being. Our air pollution is an ongoing public health crisis.

According to a recent study, Los Angeles and Riverside account for 89% of air pollution-related deaths in California and almost a third of unnecessary deaths in the United States.

During the Covid pandemic, we could save 4,250 Californians if air quality met national standards.

As a physician, I see the effects of pollution up close every day as I care for children and families right here in Huntington Park. My patients come in with asthma, allergies, lung cancer and more – many of the cases are caused by long-term exposure exacerbated by days of poor air quality.

If there is a wildfire that damages the air quality in the region, I can expect an increase in the number of patients making appointments for respiratory diseases.

I work with each patient to give him the best care, but I can’t stop him from breathing. Increasingly, my prescriptions include: “Don’t leave the house on bad days, otherwise your condition will worsen.” As a doctor, it pains me to realize that there are such harmful external factors that I cannot control. I treat my patients the best I can, but I alone cannot solve the problems that cause our environmental crisis: car and truck emissions and forest fires.

In recent years, California has made great strides in increasing the proportion of energy in our energy system that comes from renewable sources instead of oil and gas, reducing emissions from power plants to combat climate change.

The two biggest challenges yet to be addressed are emissions from cars, trucks and road traffic; and emissions from forest fires. Proposition 30, to be voted on next month, aims to reduce emissions from these two sources and puts us on the path to cleaner air.

First, Proposition 30 will help us make Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) more feasible through heavy investment in charging stations and discounts for low- and middle-income Californians to purchase electric vehicles.

There is also support for increasing public transport (such as electric buses and bike lanes) and helping agricultural and commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks to switch to electricity.

California is currently set to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035, but at an average price of $66,000, electric vehicles are out of reach for most Californians. Proposition 30 makes the shift to clean vehicles more feasible, so we’re cutting emissions quickly, ensuring working-class Californians aren’t left behind.

The second part of Proposition 30 funds wildfire prevention and response to hazardous particulate matter pollution from wildfires in our state. As wildfire seasons worsen, CAL FIRE needs more resources: new technology to detect fires early, more firefighters to respond faster in every part of the state, and funding to ensure we do our best to protect homes, create sheltered spaces, and better management. the woods.

These programs will be funded by a small 1.75% tax on Californians earning more than $2 million. No one else will pay a dime. In fact, half of the ZEV funds under Proposition 30 will go to the low-income population that suffers the most from environmental pollution.

This historic voting initiative is in line with California values. Its funding will come from just the 0.2% of Californians who can afford it the most, and it will restore clean air for free to low- and middle-income families who need it most. He collects resources fairly and invests them fairly.

Proposition 30 will significantly reduce California’s air pollution and thereby promote effective action to curb climate change. We don’t have to put up with a world with staggering rates of childhood asthma, lung cancer and heart disease. We can invest in a healthier and safer future for all Californians. Vote Like Me: Proposition 30.

Author: Dr. Michael Mahfouz is the owner of the San Miguel and San Miguel Urgent Care clinics.Dr. Michael Mahfouz
Source: La Opinion

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