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Surprise! Hollywood's a major air polluter.

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What creates more air pollution than the apparel, hotel, or aerospace industries in southern California? Hollywood, says a new report.

Although it's widely known for a 'green' image, the film and TV production industry in California is actually a significant contributor to America's dirtiest skies, sending 140,000 metric tons of ozone and diesel particulates into the air each year.

The good news: Hollywood is getting better despite all those exploding buildings and car crashes.

Those are the conclusions of the UCLA Institute of the Environment's ninth annual Southern California Environmental Report Card.

"There is lots of good stuff going on in Hollywood on this issue, but we found there is much room for improvement," says Mary Nichols, director of the UCLA Institute, in a Monitor interview. "We don't mean to be dropping a bombshell on the industry ... but we found the structure of the industry and the competitiveness doesn't favor making ideas like these universal. There are so many companies that are constantly forming and reforming that it's not easy to develop regulations that work. We need to highlight the good practices to get the overall industry to voluntarily adopt them."

Many in Hollywood aren't happy.

"The UCLA study purports to discuss film and television industry practices but was prepared without consultation with the MPAA or the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the major trade industries for the entertainment industry," says Kori Bernards, vice president of communications for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). "And the methodology raises some real questions. Specifically, data being referenced is from 1997 and there are no regulatory bodies sited for authority, which if asked, would tell you the industry gets high marks."

But the study's findings have been welcomed by some in the industry, including John Hughes. He owns the Hollywood computer-generated imagery studio "Rhythm & Hues," which has produced a host of movies, including Oscar-winning "Babe" in 1995 and "Chronicles of Narnia" in 2005.

His firm does not participate in the outdoor, live-action productions that generate the lion's share of airborne pollutants here. But his hundreds of computers require both electricity and air conditioning that do. He says he is considering alternatives, including solar panels and high-tech processors that remove heat from the computers and lower power consumption.


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