The past week air quality issues caused health warnings in the Great Smoky Mountains region and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to elevated ozone levels.
The air pollution levels were so high in the Smokies, that it I was concerned for my own health and was unable to hike my normal 10 -15 miles a day in the GSMNP for 2 days in the past week. Even though I am extremely healthy, I did not want to exert myself and excessively expose my lungs to the irritating and damaging effect of the ozone.
Click on the chart above to see a full size image.
The photo below was taken on Sunday at the Hemphill Bald in the Cataloochee section of the Great Smoky Mountains national park near Maggie Valley North Carolina. You can see the excessive unhealthy haze created by the air pollution that not only causes poor visibility, but is a health risk especially to the young, old or unhealthy.
Not only is the ozone level in the Great Smoky Mountains increased due to the coal burning power plants, the sulfur dioxide pouring into the atmosphere is also acidifying the Great Smoky Mountains. The acid rain is affecting the plants and animals that inhabit the Great Smoky Mountains national park and it slowing killing the fish and other amphibians in the higher elevations and working it way down to the valleys.
As we will come to depend more and more on electricity for power, the level of dangerous pollutants in the air will increase further damaging the delicate balance in one the world's most important biosphere: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park unless drastic measures are taken.