The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students hear the importance of clean air

By Jonathan Martinez/reporter

People can survive for one to two months without food, two to 10 days without water but only three to four minutes without air.

Jim Schermbeck, a Downwinders at Risk member, spoke April 22 during Earth Day about the importance of clean air.

“Lungs are like the Rodney Dangerfield of your body and don’t get attention until something is wrong with them,” he said.

Schermbeck compared how pollution in the water supply affects fish and how pollution in the air affects people because of their need to breathe.

“The lungs are living tissue that make it possible to live in the medium of air,” he said.

Schermbeck also listed some of the major public health concerns involved with living in unsafe air conditions: fetal growth retardation, asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes, auto-immune disorders, underweight births and death.

The main culprit to clean air is what is referred to as smog or ozone, Schermbeck said. Smog is created when nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds are given time to mix with sunlight heating the mixture.

Coal plants and gas drilling are major contributing factors of smog for the DFW area, Schermbeck said, and both were said to be the main reasons why on some days the Clean Air Act is violated in this area.

“Gas drilling is a very dirty process,” he said.

Schermbeck said he attended a Cook Children’s Hospital presentation that suggested three particular coal plants in the area were a main cause of the unhealthy air problems in the area. He showed a picture of where the majority of asthma problems occur.

“This is a statement by Cook Children’s Hospital stating they aren’t afraid to point fingers anymore,” he said.

Schermbeck said citizens need to create what he called “the big push” to become more active in demanding cleaner air.

“The technology is out there. It is just not being enforced yet,” he said.

Demanding and getting cleaner air will help combat the problem of global warming, promote cleaner energy and provide more sustainable development, Schermbeck said.

“He addresses some very serious issues that affect us locally,” said Michael Gorder, a NE Campus student who helped organized the event.

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