The problems with Fairbanks’ air quality are hard to hide.
Some relate to kids and sports. Besides young children and older adults, who may be at greater risk, kids who are in athletics during winter months are at increased risk. They may not break down in coughing fits, but their performance likely will be impacted. Growing up in these conditions, year after year could have long-term effects on overall health and performance. Athletic professionals and doctors need to help the community evaluate these concerns. In the end, this will not only impact kids’ health, sports teams and events, it will have a lasting negative impact on the Fairbanks economy.
It is a shame we have poor quality air in the Interior. This should be something left to large cities in the Lower 48. The Fairbanks North Star Borough should get more information to the public. Holding it back will not improve air quality or the perception of what the borough is doing. At least report basic data to the public so they can take responsible actions.
While a few people state it is about personal rights, the personal rights of many are impacted. If an individual can keep his or her air (and air pollution) on their property and not impact others, then they should have the freedom to burn what they want. When individuals impact air quality for neighbors and the community, then they are stealing the individual rights of many.
Education is only one tool to consider. Efforts have to be effective in various forms of government codes and regulations (though effectively administered). Air, as water, is a public trust asset, and should be protected as such by each level of government official.
So, for children, older residents, kids in sports and our economy, each person should take the time to let their public servants know what is important. It is a waste to be informed if you remain silent.