Radio Perspective – Are you Ready to take Action?
As a kid I sometimes found myself jealous of my classmates that had an inhaler. Why didn’t I have one? I quickly learned it was because I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have asthma. While I was not envious of my classmates, growing up in Long Beach, it almost seemed like these things were a rite of passage. But little did I know, I was taking part in it every day.
I was not immune to the effects of poor air quality. My exposure just manifested in different ways. Over time I started to become very sensitive to tobacco smoke, strong scented perfumes and chemicals gave me headaches, and when my parents finally bought a home that just so happened to be five blocks away from the 91 freeway, I developed allergies. It wasn’t until I started experiencing my own set of symptoms that I truly asked, “Why is this happening?” I was no longer one of the lucky ones.
The City of Long Beach has long had a complex relationship managing air quality while being home to one of the nations largest economic drivers: the port; and balancing policies that benefit the city financially but also don’t do so at the risk of the health of the residents? That’s what community members and organizers have been working towards: policies that would protect families from further harmful exposure to particulate matter. Particulate matter has even been linked to lung and heart disease, but their voices get drowned out in the tangled bureaucracy of local, county and state politics.
There is no shortage of pollution sources; it affects everybody. Poor air quality doesn’t adhere to city or even county or state boundaries. And the fact that asthma rates in California are higher than the national rates is a major public health crisis.
I can call myself ignorant no more and am ready to do something about it. So my question is, “Are you ready to take action?”
With a perspective, I’m Ana Bonilla.