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Residents say airport pollution is lethal

April 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Residents of the Mar Vista neighborhood just east of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport said they are fighting for their lives due to the dangerous air pollution from the numerous jets that take off and land at the popular airport.Sunday, residents and local lawmakers were out in force rallying just 500 yards from where the jets take off with strong and dangerous fumes blasting right into the neighborhood. Many who gathered wore masks on their faces to ward off the jet fuel odors and emissions.

A recent study out of UCLA showed that the homes and businesses east of the airport are exposed to unusually high levels of air pollution, because winds blow those fumes to the east. In some areas, the emissions of ultra fine particles were 10 times higher than other areas.

Protesters said that the problem didn't start until jets started landing at the airport 10 years ago. Because of its location, the Santa Monica Municipal Airport is very popular with the rich and famous. The airport has proposed reducing the number of jets coming in and out of the airport, but protesters said that still puts lives in danger.

"We'd like to see the jets be banned now. The toxicity from those jets with no buffer zone is literally killing our folks in this area. It is a huge, huge health issue," said L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

In order to put in a recommended buffer zone of 600 meters, hundreds of homes would need to be eliminated, which is highly unlikely. Protests said that the only option is to ban the jets. They've been lobbying in congress, the Santa Monica Municipal Airport and the FAA for help.

One of the biggest concerns is the idling from jets at the end of the runway. When they're idle and awaiting clearance for takeoff, the jets blow powerful fumes right into the neighborhood which is located right at the edge of the runway.


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