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Donna S., CA

Three years ago I moved to my retirement condo one block from Balboa Park in the Banker's Hill areas of San Diego. I did not realize at the time that my new building was at the top of the hill from the Quince Street Canyon. This canyon blows up air directly from the San Diego Airport, from the naval base at Coronado and from Interstate 5.

I noticed pretty quickly that my balcony railings were difficult to keep clean; each day they were re-covered in "black dust," i.e. particulate matter/air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels by vehicles and airplanes just down the hill.

Since I've lived here, I have a constant sore throat and my chest hurts. My doctor says that it is the outcome of living in an urban area, and I'm lucky that I am healthy at my age (68).

I sleep with an air-filtering system at night so that at least I get relatively clean air for some time during a 24-hour cycle. When I go out of town, it takes about 2 days for my lungs to "clean-out" and my sore throat to go away.

I will make a decision on whether or not to stay here over the next year, but I'm not sure where to go that is not affected by the poison air in our environment. Also, I do not see any political changes coming in the near future that would limit carbon-emitting vehicles. So there you have it--man's poisonous "techno advances" will eventually be the death of us all!

First published: June 2, 2014

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