I wanted to share with all of you the search words people used to reach this blog over the last month…interesting that so many people are looking for answers to why this beautiful city of Pittsburgh STINKS:

Search Terms for 30 days ending 2008-10-24 (Summarized)
2008-09-24 to Today
Search Views
gasp pittsburgh 15
group against smog and pollution 4
group against smog and pollution (gasp) 3
pittsburgh gasp 2
pittsburgh air pollution 2008 2
pollution of pittsburgh pa 2
air quality in pittsburgh 2
pittsburg pollution pa 2
pittsburgh air quality 2008 2
pittsburgh smog 2
pittburgh smog 2
why does pittsburgh smell like sulfur at 2
riverview park chapel northside 1
picture smokey pittsburgh 1
pictures of a steel plant stand 1
pittsburgh pollution blog 1
smoke pittsburgh pollution 1
group against smog and pollution gasp 1
pittsburgh short term pollution 1
pollution 2008 1
theadlerian 1
images of polluted country 1
not being able to breathe when you wake 1
pittsburgh town 1
pittsburgh morning air smell 1
pittsburg pollution 1
photos of pittsburgh pa smog 1
pittsburghair 1
u.s. steel and pollution 1
pittsburgh smells 1
pittsburgh 1
group against smog and pollution fundrai 1
city of pittsburgh pollution pictures 1
what causes pollution in pittsburgh 1
pittsburgh air quality october 18 2008 1
pollution in pittsburgh pa 1
air purifier gasping staring 1
wake up not being able to breath 1
pittsburgh smells? 1 More stats
pittsburgh the air in the night smells l 1
what is the main pollutants in pittsburg 1
pittsburg is a smokey old town 1
any pictures of pollution 1
gasp pittsburgh smog 1
stinky’s pittsburgh pa. 1
pittsburgh air smells bad 1
pictures of pollutants 1
lung burning pittsburgh 1
group against smog and pollution pittsbu 1
has anyone noticed the pollution in the 1


did anyone else see this article?  completely CRAZY!!! like, how are we supposed to go inside our houses and HIDE from AIR???  we need oxygen, and it comes into our homes from the outside, correct? there’s no escaping red alert pollution days unless you can drive away from it.  or bike, might be less environmentally harmful.  also, who the heck wants to stay inside on nice, sunny days.  UNBELIEVABLE that we are asked to put up with not being about to enjoy our natural habitat — the outdoors.

I’m just going to post the entire story from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review here:

High pollution levels forecast for Pittsburgh region

By The Tribune-Review
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The state has issued an Air Quality Action Day in the Pittsburgh region.

Elevated levels of ozone mean that people who are sensitive to air pollution — such as children, the elderly and asthmatics — should avoid extended time outdoors today, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Everyone is asked to help reduce pollution by carpooling, refueling vehicles after the sun sets, not mowing lawns and conserving electricity by only running full loads of laundry or dishes.

Ozone is created when sunshine reacts with pollution. Warm, sunny weather means Thursday is likely to have elevated pollution levels as well.

i’ve been learning a whole bunch of stuff about what is going on in the region and why there is pollution, especially in my neighborhood.  i’m not going to say where i’ve been learning this stuff because i don’t to mix their views or opinions with mine.

that said, i hope this gives you a slightly better understanding of why this region is still effected by pollution so heavily.

**wind moves from west to east (in case you forgot, like i did) which means pittsburgh receives a lot of pollution from the Ohio Valley, not just Pittsburgh.

**Coal is fired in power plants which sets off a lot of pollution (a replacement for coal would be wind or solar energy)

**Clairton Coke Works in Clairton, PA (near homestead, the waterfront, dravosburg, and kennywood) is the largest coke manufacturing facility in the United States and is owned by U.S. Steel.  No, this is not coke like you drink or snort, but coke that is used as a fuel.  If you’re as confused as I was, check out the wiki on coke.

The Clairton Works website says: Clairton Works produces approximately 4.7 million tons of coke annually and serves customers in the commercial coke market as well as U. S. Steel’s steelmaking facilities.”

25,000 people live in Clairton.  Every time I drive through there I feel sorry for those 25,000 people.  It stinks!!!  This excerpt is fromt he Tribune Review (read full article): “On average, the entire southwestern region — Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Armstrong and Fayette counties — has 13 days rated as unhealthy for children, the elderly and those with lung or heart conditions. The Liberty/Clairton area in southern Allegheny County has 32 such days and an additional five that are so bad the air is considered unhealthy for everyone.”

–weather and the clouds can also effect pollution.  Inversions can occur making the early morning hours a primetime for pollutants to become trapped close to earth instead of floating up to space.  this is why i wake up coughing with a nasty taste in my mouth and achy lungs in the early morning and don’t notice the smells as much during the day.

here’s a cool picture of donora smog in the old days: http://scottbeveridge.blogspot.com/2008/10/donora-smog-truth-was-concealed.html with a sad story of how that smog killed a bunch of nice pittsburgh folks.

the nice people at GASP asked me to post info about their volunteer patrol team, in which you can help monitor Pittsburgh air if you have a few extra hours per month to spare.

The Group Against Smog and Pollution, with

funding from the Three Rivers Community

Foundation*, is starting a new program.

The pollution patrol is a team of citizen volunteers interested in learning about and monitoring the air quality in their communities.

Team members will be:

· Educated about air quality issues in our area

· Trained in the use of GASP’s air monitoring equipment

· Given the chance to become a Smokereader, certified to recognize visible emissions and industry violations

· Representatives for their community, attending local air quality meetings & conducting educational presentations

This opportunity is free but we are looking for people who can provide a yearlong commitment. Are you concerned about air pollution in your community?

Become a Pollution Patrol Team Member!

To join the team or find out more information,

Contact Lee at (412)3257382 or lee@gasppgh.org

Our Next Meeting is November 5th!

*The Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) promotes Change, not charity, by funding and encouraging activism among communitybased organizations in underserved areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania. We support groups challenging attitudes, policies or institutions as they work to promote social, economic or racial justice.

so, I was driving through clairton, dravosburg and duquesne the other day, where the uss steel plant is and all the other mon valley smoke machines.  i remembered I had my camera and wanted to take pictures of the black and white smoke coming out into the pretty blue sky.  so I got a ffew good shots, but wanted to take one similar to the header of this blog, so I thought I’d stand on a bridge to get a good shot.  well, the security guard came along and told me I could not take any pictures and if I did, she’d have to call “security”.  I thought she was security, but anyway I was like, “oh, that’s cool–so I can stand on the road that is public property and take a picture, right?”  And she said that I could not, absolutely could not take any pictures of the uss steel plant or any of the other mon valley company properties.  i don’t know if this is for security reasons or what, but I already had about 15 pictures at this point, so I just went on my way.

does anyone know if they don’t allow pictures for security reasons, or because they don’t want anyone seeing all the pollutants they’re releasing?  i’d like to go back there at night and get better pictures if I had the right camera.  i bet it’s really, really smoky at night.  maybe i will post my pictures soon if i find out for sure that i won’t get arrested.

in other news, GASP is holding a fundraising event:

Please join us at our upcoming fundraising event.  If you can’t make it, feel free to pass this along to anyone who might be interested.  Thanks!

•GASP and Good Friends – Our 39th Annual Fundraising Event
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Riverview Park Chapel Shelter, Pittsburgh, PA 15214
Join us on the North Side as we celebrate our accomplishments over the past year. Activities include a puppet show, music, arts and crafts, silent auction/raffle, food and fun.
$20 for adults, $10 children ages 6-10, Free for children 6 and under

Visit www.gasp-pgh.org for more information. Please forward to those who may be interested.

I found a group that is doing something about the air quality in Pittsburgh.  Hooray!  GASP, Group Against Smog and Pollution has meetings around town and volunteer spots to be on the “Pollution Patrol Team”.

They have a ton of information on their website, so check it out and see how you can get involved.  Looks like they are also having a fundraising event soon: Fall Party: GASP and Good Friends on Saturday, September 27th at the Riverview Park Chapel Shelter on the Northside.

Not sure I can make the party, but I’m attending a meeting soon.  Will keep everyone updated.


p.s. has anyone ever experienced “yellow fog” while driving through Morgantown, WV?

the American Lung Association has a website that allows you to check the state of the air in your city. i don’t think it gets more local than by county, but i’d like to do some comparisons against other counties in PA when I get more time. it actually lists the # of people who have respiratory problems, as well as particle pollution grades.

allegheny county gets a grade of ‘F’.

they also show a map where pittsburgh ranks #1 for most short term particle pollution.


they also have a “take action” link that takes you here: http://lungaction.org/campaign/SOTA2008
from here you can get more involved, i urge everyone reading this to do so. they make it easy to send letters to local representatives and congress.

here’s a website from the U.S. government that shows air quality by region: http://www.airnow.gov/

it actually shows visibility cams like this one in Frostburg, MD.  there weren’t any for Pittsburgh.  How do we get one of these?