Atlanta being the most toxic city in America is about as big a revelation as finding out that (name the celebrity of your choice) was gay.
During the summer months, some people have to choose between walking around outside and breathing, and if you're in the right spot (the Wesley Chapel overpass in Decatur is a good one), you can see the yellowish-brown haze surrounding the city. I don't know all of the factors that went into Forbes' report on environmental cesspools in America (because I couldn't be bothered to read all of their facts), but the smog that we're suffering through now is really all I need to know about. What more needs to be said besides, "BROWN AIR?"
If the Metro Atlanta area didn't have the forethought to try to combat BROWN AIR, then I can only imagine what else people are turning a blind eye to down here. After all, DeKalb County is the only place I've lived where people have to pay extra to recycle. Even Biloxi, MS lets people recycle for free. You know, since we should be doing it, anyway.
But besides that, in a shocking development, we've got a lot of cars on the road. I know most people might not be aware of Atlanta's CRIPPLING TRAFFIC PROBLEMS, but believe it or not, between the hours of 3 and 7 PM, folks are better off sitting at home than sitting in an 8-lane parking lot downtown. And legend has it that those cars sitting in traffic are producing tons of emissions that human beings can't breathe.
It's scary stuff, I know, since the auto industry has told us for decades that car exhaust actually cures emphysema and reduces stress (because you're high), but we've recently discovered that human beings aren't really supposed to breathe that stuff.
But since people here believe that trains are a tool of the devil, the problem of traffic has steadily gotten worse. People keep coming here because of our thriving industries, like night clubs and record labels. Since the train barely goes anywhere and no one has thought to build things in central locations (we really do love us some sprawl down here), they have to buy more cars and produce more of that sweet, brown, nectar.
Everyone knows that the non-expansion of the train system is the hallmark of cities that desperately beg to be recognized as a "world-class metropolitan area from the future." New York and Chicago have been getting it so wrong for years. What kind of idiot invests in mass transit when they could just as easily expand I-75 in Marietta to 11 lanes on each side? It does nothing for our traffic problems, while also doing nothing for our pollution problems! I mean, except "adding to them."
Yeah, Atlanta is blazing a trail into the future, if by "blazing" you mean, "engineering it's own collapse." Traffic is killing this city in more ways than one. Who wants to fight that traffic every day? Who wants to have a three-hour round-trip commute every day in the effort to avoid the traffic? Who wants to breathe smog? I know I don't. Atlanta has made me sick of driving.
Add to the train system. Build more lines. Expand into more counties. Build up instead of out. Screw the Good Ol' Boy Network and their backwards thinking. These are the same people that fought everything from abolishing slavery to higher emissions standards.
I mean, unless Atlanta likes being at the top of lists like this. If that's the case, keep doing what you're doing.