Holyoke residents rally for clean air protections - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Holyoke residents rally for clean air protections

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Holyoke residents are concerned about the air quality in the city. Wednesday, asthma sufferers, health care professionals and activists rallied together at a Nuestras Raices Community Garden calling for better safeguards against pollution and smog.

It is tough for me, it's tough for all of my family, it is tough to see somebody who cannot breathe,"said Viregenmina Perez, a long-time Holyoke resident.

Many Holyoke residents like Perez have several family members who suffer from asthma.

"One in four kids in Holyoke has asthma, that's 24 percent, which is twice as high as the state average of 10 percent," said Drew Grande of the Sierra Club.

So why is the air quality so bad in Holyoke, but not as bad anyone else in the state? Many believe the coal-burning Mont Tom Power Plant may be to blame.

"The Mont Tom Power Plant, which is putting out so much pollution into the air through particulate matter, which is inflaming the asthma rate,"said Grande.

Together, Holyoke residents, the Sierra Club and other organizations are trying to improve the air quality for everyone by holding coal power plants like Mont Tom responsible for what they're putting into the air.

"We need to see the change here in Holyoke," said Perez.

Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to release new rules regarding air toxins.

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