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Cover of report by Environment America Research & Policy Center, USPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group
In 2018, nearly 110 million Americans lived in areas with air quality that was unhealthy for more than 100 days of the year, according to a new report published on Tuesday by Environment America Research & Policy Center, USPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. And 157 million more live in areas that have degraded air quality, it’s just degraded less often, and these citizens who live with excessive air pollution are spread across the country in large and small cities and even in rural areas.
Why This Matters: Dirty air negatively impacts’ people’s health and even their life expectancy — as we have often reported here in Our Daily Planet, and air quality in the U.S. is not good enough, despite what the current administration may try to claim. Indeed, New York Magazine reported last fall that after a 25 percent decline in fine-particulate pollution over the seven years prior to Trump’s election, particulate pollution increased by 5.5 percent from 2016 to 2018, according to an analysis of EPA data by researchers at Carnegie Mellon. We also know that climate change is exacerbating the problem according to the report, and thus we will in the future see an increase in the incidences of respiratory and cardiovascular health problems, including premature death. And nowhere in the U.S. is immune from this problem — the authors say that people in every state face health risks from ground-level ozone pollution.
The Top Ten Worse Cities For Air Quality
In order they are: (1) greater Los Angeles; (2) greater Chicago; (3) greater Dallas-Fort Worth; (4) greater Houston; (5) greater Atlanta; (6) greater Phoenix; (7) greater San Bernadino (CA); (8) greater Detroit; (9) greater San Diego; and (10) greater Denver. The California cities had poor air quality for much longer — with San Bernadino having a staggering 227 bad air days in 2018.
As we have reported, EPA researchers have long linked asthma— a serious and life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the quality of life of more than 23 million Americans— with exposure to air pollution. Cities with some of the worst air pollution have the highest rates of asthma.
Delegates attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow will get to see a very cool display during their stay. So cool, in fact, that it’s been frozen since 1765. Artist Wayne Binitie and scientists of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have retrieved an Antarctic time capsule containing the world’s purest air. The pocket of atmosphere was […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The European Environment Agency (EEA) found that a majority of EU countries broke at least one air pollution limit last year — despite COVID-19 lockdowns. In addition, 17 EU countries failed to stay below ozone pollution targets, which directly influence global warming; and eight EU countries failed to stay […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer An Indonesian district court ruled yesterday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has neglected Jakarta’s residents right to clean air. In a unanimous ruling in favor of the 32 residents who brought the case, the Central Jakarta District Court ordered Widodo, and six other top officials deemed negligent, to improve […]
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