Fairbanks, Alaska is a beautiful place. In fact, many will think it is a great place to go to in order to escape city life and get away from the typical pollution city dwellers are submitted to on a daily basis.
But don’t let the scenery fool you—if it's pollution you wish to escape from, plan your trip to Fairbanks for the summer months, not the winter.
During the winter months the citizens make use of wood stoves and backyard wood furnaces that grey the sky with thick clouds of smoke.
The problem is that they don’t only burn wood, but coal as well. Fairbanks is no longer the place you see on postcards and in travel brochures.
In the beginning of what is referred to as the winter stove season, the greater Fairbanks area experience days that exceed health limits established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. During November of 2012 air-quality readings were twice as bad as Beijing's!
This is absolutely shocking if you consider Beijing’s population is estimated to be about 21 million and that of Fairbanks is only about 32,312.
The tiny particles in this soot pollution are so small that they can lodge in lungs and cause respiratory problems, heart ailments and possibly even lung cancer.