Friday, July 28, 2017

Top Seven Cities with the Cleanest Air

[With so much bad news lately, we thought it was time for some good news -- this guest post by Michael Elecho]

Every year, the American Lung Association releases its annual review of the air quality in the United States. Dubbed, “The State of the Air,” this report focuses on letting families and individuals make informed decisions about what cities and areas in the country to live in. This is especially important for people with allergies or other sensitivities to airborne contaminants.
Another facet of The State of the Air address is the list of the cities with the best quality of air in the United States. By looking at the amount of particle pollution and ozone in official monitoring sites, the ALA is able to assess how good the air is across the country and track general trends. Needless to say, emission reductions brought about by the U.S. Clean Air Act have improved air quality throughout the nation. 
The best cities to live in if you’re concerned about air quality, however, are seven cities that ranked top in terms of air quality, with five repeating for the second year in a row. They are located as far north and east as Vermont, as far south as Florida, and as far west as Hawaii. These seven cities are offered in alphabetic order, because they all had zero high particle pollution days all year.
Burlington – South Burlington, Vermont, pop. 217,042
Burlington is a known ski and snowboard mecca, and as such has a vested interest in keeping their air clean and pure. Legislature and regulations enacted by Vermont have helped reduce ozone and particulate pollution across the board in this busy city. This helped this busy metropolitan area breathe easier for the years covered in the AL report.
Cape Coral – Fort Myers – Naples, Florida, pop. 1,059,287
This canal-rich city is the largest metropolitan area between Tampa and Miami, yet continues to prove that big cities can have clean air. This area is home to numerous parks and ecological reserves dedicated to protecting local species. This focus helps drive environmental regulations that keep the air around here clean for wild animals and humans alike.
Elmira – Corning, New York, pop. 184,702
This sleepy little area actually stretches along the Junction Canal between the two cities of Elmira and Corning in southern New York. The area’s remote location helps to contribute to the quality of air here. The Elmira-Corning area remains a safe haven in an otherwise sporadically polluted state.  [Editor's note: Corning is home to Corning Inc. is one of the world's most prominent makers of air pollution control equipment.]
Honolulu, Hawaii, pop. 998,714
There’s no doubt that Honolulu’s remote location protects it from cross contamination from other cities and the effects of being near pollution-producing power plants and factories. It also receives a large amount of annual rainfall, which helps to keep particulates in the air down. However it happens, Honolulu recorded levels of ozone and particulates that were among the lowest in the country, making this large metropolitan area a pleasure to work and breathe in.
Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida, pop. 568,088
Despite a population of nearly 1/2 million people, this city manages to keep its air among the cleanest in the nation. With 29 city parks and lots of beaches, the area has recognized how important it is to keep the city’s air clean for tourists and residents. A high annual rainfall also helps keep particulate pollution down, but the real work comes from Florida’s passion for protecting and preserving nature.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, pop. 188,210
Santa Fe is renowned for its art scene, with some of the nation’s best and brightest showcased at galleries in this southwestern city. The city’s population cares about the air they breathe and it shows. The city recently unveiled a sculpture that measures particulates that cause air pollution. To help combat this, there are limits on burning wood, which is a major contributor of particulates.
Wilmington, North Carolina, pop. 277,969
Wilmington is new to the list, and the bustling port city couldn’t be happier. Part of this has to do with the city lowering vehicle emission requirements and the recent Clean Smokestacks Act, which went into effect in 2002. The city also recently had a major power plant switch from coal to natural gas, which caused a 99 percent drop in sulfur dioxide emissions.
In the 164-page report, the ALA cited three cities in California as having the worst air quality of anywhere in the nation. Los Angeles has the worst ozone pollution, a position it has held since the report started 18 years ago. Bakersfield has the worst short-term particle pollution, and Visalia-Porterfield-Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley has the dubious honor of being the most-polluted city for year-round particle pollution.

This is a guest post by Michael Elecho from ThinkCrucial.com, a home improvement brand that helps people save money on replacement parts.

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