Does the practice of burning yard waste in the City of East Peoria need to end? What are the reasons to stop this practice in our city? One reason is because the practice of outdoor burning of leaves, grass, and branches releases CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is causing the warming of the Earth. This is changing our climate causing weather to be more intense, making temperatures, rainfalls, and droughts, more extreme. Did you know that each of the last 16 months has been the warmest ever recorded? These are longer term affects of burning organic matter that could be used as mulch or making of helpful compost material. A more immediate effect of burning these materials is the adverse health issues it can cause for ourselves and our neighbors. The burning of yard waste causes smoke, some very dark and thick. This smoke causes soot and particulate matter or PM, to be released into the air because the leaves etcetera are not burned completely. These tiny particles can cause a number of health problems. They can reduce lung capacity and harm the lung’s ability to use the air. They trigger asthma attacks. They get into the blood stream through the lungs and increase the risk of heart problems for those that have heart issues. Naturally the people that are hurt the most are the young, with smaller lungs, and the old with lungs that have, over the years, breathed in smoke and chemicals from other sources in their lifetimes. Those that have developed problems like asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis are most at risk. In addition to particulate matter the smoke also contains dioxins, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and other volatile organic compounds. The smoke from open burning can be just as dangerous as the smoke from cigarettes. Even if you don’t worry about the problems that open burning causes, shouldn’t the city think of all its citizens? Please consider the health of the planet, children and the elderly, and your neighbors with respiratory problems. Please encourage the city to ban open burning.