ALL Champaign-Urbana Residents Deserve to Breathe Clean Air! Stop Leaf and Yard Waste Burning Within One Mile of Champaign-Urbana City Limits!
Sign the Petition and Share with Family and Friends in Champaign County, Illinois!
While leaf and yard waste burning is illegal in the Cities of Champaign-Urbana, any area that is “unincorporated” yet located right next to Champaign-Urbana City Limits is allowed to burn with no restrictions. There is already leaf and yard waste pick up available to homes in these areas, yet they still continue to burn.
When people in nearby unincorporated areas burn their yard waste and leaves, those of us living near City Limits are not able to breathe clean air in our own homes and yards. There are also several parks near these unincorporated areas, and children are exposed to this heavy smoke when playing at the park or during sports practices.
Smoke from leaf burning is not only unpleasant to smell, it is unhealthy to breathe. A known carcinogen, smoke from bruning yard waste enters nearby yards and homes and causes severe respiratory problems (including asthma) for people of all ages, especially those who are young and the elderly.
Leaf and yard waste burning impacts the air that all of us breathe. The burning of leaves produces a considerable amount of airborne particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and at least seven known carcinogens. One of the most notorious carcinogens is benz[a]pyrene, a polyaromatic hydrocarbon. Like the secondhand smoke from cigarettes, benz[a]pyrene from leaf burning endangers us all.
Many harmful chemicals are produced and released into the air when leaves are burned. Some of these chemicals are toxic to people, animals, and plants. In addition, some of these chemicals react with nitrogen oxides in the air to produce ozone.*
As residents Champaign-Urbana, we are joining together to tell the Cities of Champaign-Urbana and Champaign County to protect our right to breathe clean, safe air by prohibiting any leaf and yard waste burning within one mile of Champaign-Urbana City Limits.
But we need your help! If you live in Champaign County, sign the petition and share this with family and friends in Champaign County, IL.
Resources: Leaves vs. Lungs
*quoted from The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, DE
Additional Background Information:
While leaf and yard waste burning is prohibited in the City of Champaign, any area that is "unincorporated" yet directly adjacent to the City of Champaign can still burn yard waste and leaves with no restrictions. There is already leaf and yard waste pick up available to homes in these areas, yet they still continue to burn.
For Champaign City residents in many parts of the City, this means that leaf and yard waste in these unincorporated areas occurs mere blocks, or even feet, from our homes. The smoke from this burning easily carries into our homes and yards, where we are forced to breathe it unless we completely shut up our homes and remain indoors.
While smoke from yard waste and leaf burning is not healthy for any person of any age to breathe, it is particularly dangerous for children and older adults, especially those with respiratory problems. In November 2013, my 2 year old son was hospitalized after a day of heavy leaf/yard waste smoke in an "unincorporated" area adjacent to our neighborhood. He was in the ICU, on a breathing machine, for 11 days. He then remained on the Pediatric Floor for an additional 8 days. We almost lost him. His diagnosis was respiratory failure, due in part to the heavy leaf burning smoke he was exposed to while simply playing in our front yard.
We are urging the Champaign County Board to amend the County Ordinances and prohibit any leaf and yard waste burning within one mile of Champaign City Limits. Please sign this petition and pass it along to other residents of Champaign County. (You can click on the "Petition" tab on the top of this page to read the actual petition letter).
Our desire is that all areas of the Cities of Champaign-Urbana - including those bordering unincorporated sections - will be free to breathe clean, safe air in our own homes and yards.
We understand that the Champaign County Board, together with the Champaign County Environment and Land Use Committee, are ultimately the entities with the power to implement restrictions to burning in unincorporated areas of Champaign County. We are writing to urge you to help. Please work to provide protection for your constituents living in areas adjacent to unincorporated Champaign by issuing a distance restriction for burning, prohibiting burning within at least one mile of the City Limits.