Tag Archive: Asm. John McKeon

New Jersey’s Environment: A Matter of Life and Breath

The LD16 GOP incumbents get a big, fat “F” grade on environment. Time for a change. 2 Days till Marie #CorfieldMoneyBomb. Blue Jersey's all-in. Promoted by Rosi.

“What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Have you ever seen a fish out of water, lying there helpless as it gasps for oxygen? That’s what it feels like to have asthma. I know because I have it—along with a host of other food, air and chemical allergies.

The single most important thing we do every day is breathe. To the average person it’s a no-brainer. They can do it in their sleep—literally. But, for almost 700,000 New Jerseyans, breathing, even in their sleep, is a life and death struggle. Fortunately, my disease is well managed. That means taking 3 different prescription medications and carrying an Epi-pen. (Thank goodness I’ve never had to use it.) But for those without health insurance—many of whom are children—every day is a potential fish out of water day.

I grew up in the heart of the opening credits of the Sopranos—Kearny—smack dab in the middle of the toxic stew of the Passaic River and the Diamond Shamrock Plant to the West, New York City and the once-pristine-meadowlands-turned-garbage-dumps to the East, and Newark Liberty Airport and the oil refineries to the South. As a kid, the only time I could really, truly breathe was when we were on vacation in LBI. I moved to Hunterdon County almost 20 years ago for, among other things, better air quality.

But many people in New Jersey don't have that luxury.

According to the New Jersey Environmental Federation, a chapter of Clean Water Action:

• In 2011, there were nearly 2500 hospital admissions for asthma in New Jersey at an average charge of $15,000/stay. Extreme heat and declining air quality are expected to increase risk of respiratory problems and heat stress, including premature death.