Washington: Los Angeles has been successful in its fight against air pollution, US President Barack Obama has said, citing the city's smog-filled air in late 70s when he went there as a graduate student.
On the eve of his 55th birthday, the US President shared his personal experience of air pollution in Los Angeles to make the point that it is important to continue the fight against pollution.
"Tomorrow is my birthday, so I'm starting to reflect on age. And in thinking about what we were doing here today, I was reminded about landing in Los Angeles to attend a college as a freshman, as an 18-year-old," Obama said at a White House event where he announced war against coal-fired air pollution.
"It was late August. I was moving from Hawaii. And I got to the campus, and I decided - I had a lot of pent-up energy and I wanted to go take a run. And after about five minutes, suddenly I had this weird feeling, I couldn't breathe," he noted.
"The reason was, back in 1979, Los Angeles still was so full of smog that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside. And they were fairly frequent," he said and then went on to give another example.
"Folks who are older than me can remember the Cayuga River burning because of pollution, and acid rain threatening to destroy all the great forests of the northeast. And you fast-forward 30, 40 years later, and we solved those problems," he said.
"But at the time, the same characters who are going to be criticising this plan were saying, this is going to kill jobs, this is going to destroy businesses, this is going to hurt low-income people, it's going to be wildly expensive. And each time, they were wrong," Obama said.
"Because we pushed through, despite those scaremongering tactics, you can actually run in Los Angeles without choking. Folks can actually take a boat out on that river. Those forests are there," he said.
"So we got to learn lessons. We got to know our history. The kinds of criticisms that you're going to hear are simply excuses for inaction. They're not even good business sense. They underestimate American business and American ingenuity," said the US President.