Students at a southeast Iowa college are trying to prevent air pollution by raising money to buy what are called pollution permits. Maria Chookolingo, a sophomore at Maharishi University of Management, says the government-issued permits allow businesses to emit a certain limited quantity of pollution into the environment. She says businesses that modernize don’t need the permits and sell them. Chookolingo says they’re going through a private, non-profit environmental organization called the Clean Air Conservancy. She says they “represent us at these auctions where the companies sell the permits and buy them for us, and retire them permanently so the companies are forced to find other methods.” Chookolingo says students at the Fairfield institution raised about three-hundred dollars and have been able to buy and “retire” three permits so far, but they’re not cheap. So far, the students have purchased two sulfur dioxide permits at 132-dollars each and one carbon dioxide permit for seven-dollars. Other permits, like nitrogen dioxide permits, run 15-hundred dollars each. Some consider carbon dioxide the main cause of global warming, while surfur dioxide is blamed for acid rain. Chookolingo, a 19-year-old from the island nation Trinidad, says the environmental effort was sparked by one of her instructors who explained what happened.The Clean Air Conservancy website claims an E-P-A report says stopping these pollutants from entering the atmosphere saves millions of dollars in costs to health care and the environment. For more information, surf to “www.cleanairconservancy.org”.
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