Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks at a news conference...

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks at a news conference Thursday at MacArthur Airport in Islip, where local and state politicians made pleas to the Federal Aviation Administration to keep 850 jobs on Long Island and build its new air traffic control center at the airport. (July 12, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

In “Suffolk air worst in state” [News, April 21], the American Lung Association highlights that ozone pollution caused by traffic is the leading cause of pollution in Suffolk County.

Alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicle traffic are discouraged because of a lack public infrastructure. As a student at Stony Brook University, one of us drives two miles to school instead of walking because of a lack of sidewalks. Many commuter students drive instead of taking the bus because there are too few bus stops.

Dependence on cars leads Suffolk residents to inactive lifestyles, which have been shown to increase the likelihood of heart-related diseases. Reducing the pollutants in the local atmosphere would decrease the risk of lung cancer.

As cancer researchers, we realize that prevention is of utmost importance. The addition of sidewalks, bike lanes and bus routes could lead to a healthier Suffolk County.

Stephen Collins

Ping He

Sammia Mohammed

Stony Brook

Editor’s note: The writers are doctoral candidates at Stony Brook University.