Open burning is hurting the air quality in South Carolina, creating serious health problems. Open burning occurs primarily when unscrupulous site-prep companies clear land for development. After trees are cut down and logs hauled away, the rest of the tree stumps and debris are burned in a pit dug for that purpose; the resulting smoke pollutes the air we breathe.
Open-burn smoke is toxic. It creates ozone and particle pollution. The EPA says that ozone and particle pollution cause unhealthy breathing conditions and may harm the reproductive, developmental, respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous systems and cause cancer. In patients with diabetes, particle pollution has been shown to increase stroke and heart attack risk.
At the least, S.C. open-burn laws need to be consistently enforced by local law enforcement, with penalties tough enough to convince site prep companies not to pollute our air. Ideally, the burning caused by site-prep companies should be stopped. Industrial wood chippers and stump grinders should be used to clean up debris left behind when land is cleared. You can help by signing our petition at change.org/p/help-us-safeguard-clean-air-in-south-carolina.