The Mission District is bad for your health

A recently released MIT study calls for greener spaces in San Francisco in order to reduce growing air pollution, and cites a direct link to areas with less open spaces and greenery to lung disease.

The research team found something else unique while analyzing the data.

While the Outer Mission has nearly twice as much area in the ‘hazardous zone’ near freeways, the Mission District has six times the rate of COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease, hospitalizations.

The reason behind the difference?

Building density, according to the study and Chris Roberts, who first wrote the story for SF Weekly.

The study says lung disease rates increase in “the presence of highly trafficked highways.”

Four major highways cut through The City: Highway 1, Highway 101 and Interstates 80 and 280. The entire city is located within 1-1/2 miles of a major highway, according to the study.

And according to the study, the Outer Mission has more than three times the number of trees and ten times the amount of vegetative surface as compared to the Mission.

SF’s Department of Public Works has a plan, though, to make The City a greener place.

According to Mindy Linetzky, a department spokeswoman, the DPW handed out 228 permits for property owners to turn concrete sidewalks into green spaces. They even added some 105,000 street trees while also lining the Great Highway with 11,000 shrubs and drought resistant plants.

The Mission needs the most attention, says Joshua Arce, chair of The City’s Environment.  The funding for the neighborhood was overlooked last year for greening project he says, which is doled out by the municipality’s Carbon Fund.

The problem of air pollution within The City is further exacerbated by a high pressure system currently trapping particulate matter in the air. San Francisco’s rich restaurant industry is also not helping keep the air clean.

To those complaining that pollution is getting worse in San Francisco, you are not wrong. Congestion is a natural source of smog, and has contributed to days in The City that have had worse air quality than Beijing.

Take a look on its effect on the quality of the air here.