L.A. gets a bad rap for its car culture. But it turns out that Americans’ addiction to milk, cheese, and other delicious dairy products plays just as big a role in the city’s smog problem these days. Scientific American reports that there are 300,000 cattle in the L.A. area, and the bacteria feasting on their waste create the same tiny particles of pollution that make smog particularly nasty.
Unlike cars, however, these cattle are mostly forced to stay in one place. (We won’t get into the troubles with large-scale dairy farming, but trust: Those cows aren’t going anywhere, not even for a pleasant stroll.) That means that it’ll be easier to deal with the particles coming from cow waste than from cars. It also means that halving L.A.’s pollution by having everyone ride cows around is probably not the solution.