Cities With the Worst Air Quality
More than half of all Americans 166 million people live in places where they are exposed to unhealthy levels of year round particle and ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association. Every year the association produces the State of the Air report, which details pollution levels at official monitoring sites. The best and worst cities in the United States are ranked under three categories: short term particle pollution, year round particle pollution and ozone pollution. Acute effects caused by high ozone levels are generally reversible, whereas “long term exposure to air polluted by particulate matter” can exacerbate chronic disorders like heart disease and diabetes. Throughout the year, Charleston hosts FestivALL Fall, a citywide celebration of visual art, music, dance, theater and more. It includes more than 130 events and 360 performances. Unfortunately, the Charleston Huntington Ashland metropolitan area also hosts a high concentration of dangerous air pollutants, due to its proximity to gas fields and industrial plants, according to West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Deborah Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid Atlantic, tells the Charleston Gazette Mail that the area needs “stronger air quality standards” in order to continue improving its air., sits on seven foothills of the Appalachian Mountains surrounding three rivers that meet in the downtown area. The Oak Hill/Martha Berry Museum illuminates the story of Appalachia, while the Chieftains Museum provides a glimpse into Cherokee history. News and World Report. Coastal Georgia benefits from air currents from the Atlantic that help to clear the air. Unfortunately, Rome is about as far from the coast as you can get in Georgia. Growing population and traffic congestion contribute to the poor air quality there, according to the Rome News Tribune.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital city. It’s nicknamed the “City of Oaks” for the oak trees that beautify the city. Locals call Raleigh Durham Capital Hill the Research Triangle because those three cities house North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina, respectively. The triangle made the ALA’s list for having some of the highest levels of year round particle pollution in the United States. Tom Mather, spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Air Quality, tells ABC 11 that since the Clean Smokestack Act passed in 2002, power plants have cut their emissions by about 75 percent. For 11 days every year, it hosts Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. If that’s not enough, visitors and locals can enjoy a variety of cultural celebrations throughout the year, including Mexican Fiesta, Polish Fest, Bastille Days, Indian Summer Festival,
German Fest and Irish Fest. Milwaukee borders 22,300 miles of Lake Michigan. Research found that 31,961 square miles of the Great Lakes are contaminated with mercury from industrial plant emissions, according to Environment Michigan. Those emissions end up not only in the water, but also in the air the locals and visitors have to breathe.’s capital and largest city, bustles with activity and culture. It ranked 32nd on Bloomberg’s list of America’s 50 Best Cities. It’s home to Ohio State University, which is among the top universities in the nation. cities with the worst year round particle pollution, Shelly Kiser, advocacy director for the ALA in Ohio, says that the federal Clean Air Act standards are working. “We’ve cleaned up our federal coal fired power plants. We’ve moved toward gas fired power plants. We’ve moved toward more renewable energy. We’ve cleaned up our diesel. Those things are all working,” she tells The Columbus Dispatch. Expansive bridges radiate out across rivers from its central downtown area. The city is home to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a museum of railroad history and model trains. The city’s fleet of zero emission electric buses provides transportation for commuters and visitors, but it could stand to expand this fleet to further improve air quality. Its dome topped Georgia State Capitol building was constructed in 1889, and its metropolitan area is the eighth largest economy in America and 17th largest in the world. It’s also home to the global headquarters for The Coca Cola Company, UPS, Home Depot, AT and Newell Rubbermaid. It’s no wonder that pollution is a problem in such a populated area. Michael Halicki of the Clean Air Campaign advises Atlanta residents to “run errands consecutively instead of separately and skip the drive through.”Baltimore is located in central Maryland along the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay. It is home to a large seaport, and the downtown area is centered on the gorgeous Inner Harbor. However, the Washington Baltimore Arlington area creates difficult geographic challenges “from air pollution from power plants, animal waste and fertilizer and pollutions washed off hard surfaces by runoff,” according to a CBS Baltimore report. The metropolitan area should begin by strengthening laws for power plant emissions. Originally a steel manufacturing locus, today Youngstown is the only city in the United States with a population that has decreased more than 2 percent in recent years. Environmental Defense Fund Report recently named Ohio as a leader in reducing air emissions and creating jobs.
Related: Learn more about visiting .
South Bend, Indiana
South Bend is home to the prestigious University of Notre Dame. The campus is famous for the awe inspiring Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which features beautiful high ceilings and stained glass windows. Visitors can also peruse the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a small replica of a French shrine, where students light candles and pray. Despite improvements in other counties throughout Indiana, South Bend experienced an increase in short term particle pollution. These sources include smoke from woodstoves, prescribed burning and forest fires, which are exacerbated by climate change causing hotter and drier summers. “Particles that size are not just causing coughs or bronchitis or lung cancer,” former director of women’s health at St. Patrick Hospital Dr. Georgia Milan tells Missoulian. At their intersection he established Hattiesburg, named for his wife. Present day Hattiesburg’s population is more than 148,000. that’s built for African American soldiers. Animal lovers can stop by the Hattiesburg Zoo,
which has added more than 20 new facilities since 2010.