Air Pollution

11:07am

Thu June 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Singapore Endures Record Smog

The sun rises over the Singapore Central Business District as smog shrouds the city-state on Thursday.
Joseph Nair AP

Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.

The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.

Read more

6:43am

Thu June 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Obama Working On Plan That Limits Power Plant Emissions

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:29 am

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, W.Va.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

President Obama will soon unveil a plan that will put limits on the carbon emissions of existing power plants, the administration's top energy adviser says.

The New York Times reports this is the most consequential part of a bigger plan to curb climate change. The newspaper adds:

Read more

11:18am

Fri May 31, 2013
Research News

Gizmo Uses Lung Cells To Sniff Out Health Hazards In Urban Air

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:23 pm

Adam Cole NPR

Cities like Houston are dotted with air-sniffing monitors that measure levels of benzene and other potentially unhealthy air pollutants. But those monitors can't answer the question we care about most: Is the air safe?

That's because there's no simple relationship between toxic air pollutants and health risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are trying to get a leg up on that problem. They are building an instrument that uses human lung cells to measure health hazards in the air more directly.

Read more

6:33pm

Thu May 30, 2013
Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

Baton Rouge's Corroded, Overpolluting Neighbor: Exxon Mobil

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:50 am

An evening view of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery complex in Baton Rouge, La.
John W. Poole NPR

If you stand in front of Almena and Sidney Poray's house in Baton Rouge, La., and look straight down the street, past the other houses and the shade trees, you see more than a dozen plumes of exhaust in various hues of gray and white.

"That's something you see every day, the same thing if not more," says Almena Poray. "Sometimes it's a darker gray; sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

Read more

2:11am

Fri May 24, 2013
Parallels

China's Air Pollution: Is The Government Willing To Act?

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 9:55 am

Skyscrapers are obscured by heavy haze in Beijing on Jan. 13. Air pollution remains a serious — sometimes overwhelming — problem, but researchers say environmental technology is available to solve it.
Ng Han Guan AP

Denise Mauzerall arrived in Beijing this year at a time that was both horrifying and illuminating. The capital was facing some of its worst pollution in recent memory, and Mauzerall, a Princeton environmental engineering professor, was passing through on her way to a university forum on the future of cities.

"I took the fast train from Beijing to Shanghai, and looking out the window for large sections of that trip, you couldn't see more than 20 feet," Mauzerall recalled.

To Mauzerall, the lesson was surprising and inescapable.

Read more

Pages