Ozone, or smog, is a dangerous pollutant that poses a serious threat to human health. It is not emitted directly into the air, but rather is created through a chemical reaction. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) combine in the air and are heated by the sun to form ozone.
Sources of NOx and VOCs include: petrochemical refineries, chemical plants, construction equipment, power plants, breweries, restaurants and bakeries, dry cleaners, marine vessels, planes, trains, and automobiles. And yes: trees and plants also emit some of these chemicals.
In Houston, weather conditions are often perfect for the formation of ozone. Ozone is formed on warm, sunny days with little to no wind and no rain. The sea breeze coming from the Gulf of Mexico moves ozone pollution around the Houston region. Early morning winds come from the Northwest carrying pollution from the Houston Ship Channel (where large concentrations of NOx and VOCs have been measured) and push these pollutants out to sea. When the afternoon temperature heats up, the winds switch direction and move clockwise, carrying pollution north of the city. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has measured high ozone levels in areas like Fort Bend County.
Air Alliance Houston – Air Pollution 101
- Do a feasibility study on prohibiting diesel cars within city limits similar to other international cities
- Raise the tax on fuel sold within city limits
- Raise a tax on diesel motors sold within city limits
- Pass an ordinance similar to 155 other U.S. cities banning the use of pesticides with glyphosate in city parks, city contractors and public schools
- Advocate for city of houston vehicles to participate in measuring air pollution
- Ban new permits for car dealerships and the sale of diesel powered vehicles within the 610 loop
- Ban the sale of gasoline powered leaf blowers and expand the rules of when the y can be used in city limits similar to 170 other US cities
- Advocate for the three TCEQ commissioners to be appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house or an independent commission
Code – Health and Safety Code
Chapter – 382 Clean Air Act