Reduce carbon emissions to reduce asthma cases

I commend the students from the Christian organization Cru who spent last weekend distributing pamphlets about Baltimore's Community Asthma Program ("Students canvass Baltimore housing projects to deliver asthma, smoking cessation information,” Dec. 29).

Baltimore has a huge asthma problem, disproportionately affecting those with low incomes. No wonder. These people are the ones most likely to live near coal-fired power plants, streets congested with toxin-emitting vehicles and heavy industry. It's time we stop treating the air we breathe as a dump for carbon pollution. When we burn coal, oil and gas, noxious gases are released, like nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury as well as particulate matter. These cause asthma and other diseases.

A bipartisan bill called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was introduced in the last Congress that would encourage the transition from fossil fuels to non-polluting energy sources. By putting a steadily rising fee on carbon and returning all the net revenue to households as a monthly dividend, it would improve public health and save lives, as well as put money in people's pockets and generate new jobs. It would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions which cause climate change.

To tackle our asthma problem, tackle our air pollution problem. Ask your representatives to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the new Congress.

Cheryl Arney, Ellicott City

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