EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

March 1, 2013

Letter: Budget cuts could worsen air quality

To the editor:

As a parent of a child with asthma and heart disease, I cringe at the thought of cuts to the funding of air quality monitoring and enforcement due to sequestration, set to take effect today. It’s estimated that Massachusetts will lose $4 million in environmental funding.

As my son was growing up, I needed to watch air-quality reports, and when we heard air-quality warnings, we restricted his time outside. It was essential for his heart and also for his asthma. Air pollution is a known trigger of asthma attacks. And while some might think that asthma is easily managed with an inhaler, I can attest firsthand to it being far more serious, often involving emergency rooms and inpatient admissions.

It is terrifying to watch your child struggle to breathe and not something I would wish for any parent. One in 10 children in our state has asthma and their parents have the right-to-know what the air pollution levels are in their communities in order to keep their kids safe.

A second concern is the cut to funding for enforcement of air pollution laws. It’s common sense that without enforcement, laws don’t get followed — think highway speed traps versus none.

Across the board budget cuts are reckless and harmful to the many vulnerable people who rely on this funding to protect them.

Diane Pickles

Bradford

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