High-speed rail project to work to improve air quality in California
With asthma rates for the region being the highest in the U.S., the new California high-speed rail project will work to reduce high air pollution levels.
A guiding principle of electrified high-speed rail is the reduction of air pollution and global warming greenhouse gases. While a diesel train transporting a million passengers in the California’s Central Valley emits 1,500 pounds of particulate matter – a type of air pollutant – electrified high-speed rail emits no additional particulate matter. As a result, the California high-speed rail project, once completed, will contribute to the reduction of air pollution levels in within the region.
California’s Central Valley currently suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the U.S., with research showing that transportation is a leading contributor to asthma-inducing pollution, such as diesel usage. Asthma rates for the region’s children is approximately 20 per cent, more than twice the rate of the rest of the state.
Kevin Hamilton – a registered respiratory therapist who co-leads the Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC) and is focused on easing the burden of chronic respiratory disease and environmental health impacts valley wide – said: “Research has really come forward to say that, in fact, certain kinds of air pollution actually causes asthma. Diesel pollution is the main offender. It contains elemental black carbon, which is many times more toxic than organic black carbon from wood smoke.”
Brian Kelly, California High-Speed Rail Authority‘s (CHSRA) CEO, said: “This is everything from a public health perspective. We do need to move from the era of diesel trains service to something newer, faster and, particularly, cleaner.”
The video (found above) explains further why this is particularly important for health experts and families in the region.