Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution

Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2019. 312p. notes. index. ISBN 9780226495859. $27.50. SCI
Gardiner, an environmental journalist based in London, researched and experienced a variety of air quality issues while interviewing scientists, activists, and affected residents around the world. Her debut is meant to raise awareness of air pollution as a global public health issue since it leads to the premature deaths of thousands of people each year but is often overlooked. The author reports from cities such as Delhi, Lucknow, London, Krakow, Los Angeles, Beijing, and Berlin along with the country of Malawi. Each visit highlights a different aspect, from diesel fumes to coal smoke. Other chapters cover the passage of the U.S. Clean Air Act and the struggle to regulate vehicle exhaust. Gardiner states that although air quality is being improved in many places, foul air is still causing health problems and shortening lives. She concludes that government environmental agencies are essential to safeguard public health, that the benefits of operating agencies far outweigh the human costs, and that providing clean air will help mitigate the effects of climate change. Endnotes support the author's statements.
VERDICT Environmentalists, concerned citizens, and students will find this book helpful in comprehending the extent of this ongoing issue.
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