Check out this smoggy photo of Santa Monica Bay — very grody!

Photo by Steve Hymon.

Photo by Steve Hymon.

Good morning, riders and readers — and, of course, Happy New Years!

We’ll be back to our normal programming on the blog next Monday. As is our usual custom, we took some time off over the holidays and also put aside our daily chores to work on some long term stuff.

I took this photo from Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades last week. The trio of oil tankers sit in Santa Monica Bay with a band of smog obscuring Catalina Island thanks to the Santa Ana winds.

Of course, this is the same crud that usually blows inland, giving the Inland Empire a big snootful of nasty. I’m posting the photo as a reminder that although our region has enjoyed some very clear days in recent times, smog is hardly an issue of the past.

While ground-level ozone — a primary smog-causing agent that results from burning fossil fuels and other chemical reactions  — has been on the decline, the amount found in our air is still way, way, way above federal standards as the chart below neatly shows.

What to do about it? There’s a lot that needs to be done on many fronts, but I hope among the solutions is getting some people out of cars and onto transit, bikes and sidewalks at least some of the time. And I think expanding our transit system also makes sense so that transit is a viable option to those who feel like driving is the only choice.

As for the above photo, feel free to put on your marketing hat and come up with a pro-transit slogan.

Chart: South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Chart: South Coast Air Quality Management District.


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Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

5 replies

  1. I remember LA in the 1970s. Compared to that, the smog in the air in LA today is peanuts.

  2. You think this is bad, I grew up in L. A. when you could hardly see more than a couple blocks in front of you and breathing was difficult especially for avid bike rider then.

  3. Visible “crud in the air” is not necessarily the same as smog. There could just be a lot of particulates, discoloring the air, but still be in the moderate (i.e. meeting federal standards) range. This isn’t China level particulate emissions where you can’t see a quarter mile ahead of you.

    • Hi Calwatch;

      Sorry but I disagree. It was smog. Particulate matter is an ingredient of smog.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Ozone is an invisible gas. Photo-chemical smog is a result of nitrogen oxides. Particulates are also a source of visible smog. The layers visible in the photo are the result of an inversion layer. The same layer that keeps the pollutants in (and allows them to cook) is also the reason why Mt. Wilson has clear stable skies.