Letters to the Editor

Are ATVs responsible for dust pollution? Here’s a way to find out

Oceano Dunes SRVA is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach.
Oceano Dunes SRVA is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

I have a simple, though controversial, experiment to find out if, or how, dust from the Nipomo Dunes can be reduced. Since the back-and-forth arguments on whether dune buggies or Mother Nature are the cause of the fine dust particles, here is a “scientific” way to check both arguments.

Ban all vehicles on the dunes for a 24-month trial. Observe weather conditions, especially rain and winds, for that period. If weather conditions are not significantly different from prior years, yet dust is not significantly reduced, one can logically conclude that vehicles on the dunes are not a significant contributor to the dust. If dust is reduced — significantly — in this 24-month period, then it is highly likely that vehicles are a major contributor to dust particles on the Nipomo Mesa.

This will obviously not end the discussion because many people on both sides of the argument only want their side to “win.” However, the experiment I propose would be very inexpensive and just might provide real data upon which to make a decision.

Jim Vint, Santa Maria

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