By now, you’ve heard that Forbes ranked Fresno as the dirtiest city in the country, a designation based on air quality and water cleanliness. Ya know, science and stuff. Most Fresnans reacting to this news, however, have been using the ranking as a reason to spout off about how dirty the city is in more visible ways, like litter on the freeway. (And they’ve proven they didn’t actually read the story, way to go, guys!)
Since you Fresnans want the other kinda dirty, and Forbes ain’t measuring that, we at The Beehive have culled together 11 other things that make Fresno dirty. Fair warning: Some of what you’ll find below is a tad NSFW and thus, not fit for clean minds. Oh, the filth. Let’s roll around in it.
The environmental degradation of the Central Valley has many contributing factors. First of all, its geography doesn’t do it any favors. It’s a big, long bowl surrounded on three sides by mountains that trap pollutants from cars and factories and oil fields in an inversion layer. Second, it’s a victim of what brought people there in the first place — rich fertile soils from which grow much of America’s fruits and vegetables. For decades farmers would burn leftover cuttings from their fields after the harvest — dumping massive amounts of lung-choking particulate matter into the air. Burning has been banned since 2004, and the air has gotten cleaner since then, but there’s still a long way to go.