Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: On Oceano Dunes Air Pollution

Plant a tree barrier

I’ve been following The Tribune articles regarding the reported air pollution on the Nipomo Mesa caused by the ATV riders on the Oceano Dunes. Geology is not one of my strong suits but I’m wondering if these same sand particles and the winds are what formed the Mesa in the first place, before the vehicles and ATVs on the beach?

A concerted effort to help solve the problem, stop pointing fingers and bickering and instead concentrate on win-win solutions should be made.

Here’s one idea: provide a barrier or buffer zone within air currents between the Dunes and the Mesa or around the Mesa’s perimeter by planting tall trees to block or shield against much of the air pollutants. This will drastically reduce the air pollution for Mesa residents, provide an aesthetic setting and view and still allow the off-roaders a place to recreate.

The tree-planting can be a community event and I bet the off-roaders would even be willing and happy to pitch in as well. Then we can all breathe easier.

Betty Cary


They just want to complain

Remember when Cecil B. DeMille filmed the movie “The Ten Commandments” at the Dunes in the 1920s and nobody complained? There have been vehicle activities on the Dunes ever since.

Remember in the 1970s, during vacations, holidays and spring breaks when motor homes pulled sand vehicles to the Dunes?

They were five deep as far as the eye could see from Oceano to Devil’s Slide.

Remember when the newspapers reported there were 100,000-plus folks playing in the Dunes and all the motels around were full?

And remember when all these families were playing in the Dunes and all the complaints about dust and pollution came about? Let’s leave the Dunes alone, it won’t be long before these same folks doing the complaining will find something else to complain about.

John Hanna

Arroyo Grande

Authorities show backbone

We wish to thank the Air Pollution Control District board for taking action to investigate a potential problem related to air pollution from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area. By ordering the first phase study several years ago, they were able to clarify that there is, in fact, an air pollution problem from the Oceano Dunes.

They then followed with a second study to determine the cause. The board deserves our collective applause for having the insight, concern and commitment to have the studies conducted.

At its Air Pollution Control District meeting last week, the board had the backbone to accept the study. Some board members represent agencies that believe strongly that they will suffer economically if steps are taken to bring the county into compliance with state air quality standards. Yet, with the exception of one member, they all chose to protect public health, an ethical and admirable action.

Based on these studies, we now know we have a significant and serious health threat and what causes it. Clearly something needs to be done about it quickly.

We encourage the board to continue to move forward to resolve this problem.

Larry and Arlene Versaw

Arroyo Grande

Protect childrens’ health

After reading Rachelle Toti’s “Particle dangers” letter (March 22), I am concerned for the children attending schools on the Nipomo Mesa. Schools have many outside activities including competitive sports.

If children are being exposed to dangerous air pollution now, then solutions to protect children need to be enacted now. The schools need to know which 90 days per year to keep children inside and to cancel outdoor sports.

On indoor days, air purifiers need to be provided by the Oceano State Vehicular Recreation Area. I understand that the Oceano Dunes is funded by our gasoline taxes, so what is the state’s idea to protect the health of our school and preschool children who attend schools on the Nipomo Mesa?

Carol Georgi

Shell Beach