Very recently, California AG Rob Bonta visited the toxic wasteland known as Calwa, located in Fresno County. CalEnviroscreen, a state mapping tool used to identify California communities that are most affected by many sources of pollution, ranks Calwa in the 99th percentile. Calwa residents expressed their concerns of the extreme pollution, to Bonta, who has vowed to take action. I certainly hope he does. Just a few months ago, Fresno County Supervisors unanimously rejected funds for a study that would’ve studied the health impacts of climate change, particularly among vulnerable rural communities, like Calwa.
But, much of the Central Valley in general isn’t so much different from Calwa; Bakersfield currently ranks worst in air quality. This isn’t a coincidence; the Central Valley has unique features that make it so dirty. It is a bowl shaped valley, which helps to trap in pollutants. Industries, such as oil and even farming (dust, and the previous practice of burning vegetation to clear land) contributed the most, with the large number of cars and highway traffic also contributing to our bad air.