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Roanoke is no longer listed as one of the cleanest cities for air pollutants

The American Lung Association released its State of the Air Report for Roanoke and the surrounding areas. The report shows that Roanoke is no longer on the list of cleanest cities for all three air pollutant measures. This means the short-term and year-round particle pollution is worsening.

When determining how an area ranks, the American Lung Association looks at the daily measures of particle pollution and a year-round average.

Roanoke dropped from an A grade to a B grade.

Nationally, the report found that nearly 120 million people live in counties that had unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

Kevin Stewart, the Director of Environmental Health for the American Lung Association, says, “We are fully aware that this is widespread, and we are seeing this nationwide in this year’s report where lots of areas have changed from As to Bs, and we believe some of that is due to the smoke from wildfires that happened in the far West and even Southwestern Canada.”

After ranking four consecutive years as one of the cleanest cities, Roanoke now ties for 118th most polluted. The American Lung Association says that even one poor air quality day is one too many. It creates a high risk for children, older adults, pregnant women and those living with a chronic disease.

To improve our air quality, the American Lung Association recommends enacting policies to cut all harmful pollutants and transmission to zero-emission vehicles.

However, the report also shows that Roanoke is still ranked as one of the cleanest cities for ozone pollution. The State of the Air Report shows that Roanoke experienced zero unhealthy days of high ozone. This marks the 7th consecutive year as one of the cleanest cities in the U.S.

“Low levels of ozone were found during every day that we have monitoring data for the 2019- 2021 period, compared to the current standard that EPA has set for a health standard for ozone,” says Stewart.

According to the American Lung Association, we are seeing ozone pollution improving thanks to the Clean Air Act.

Source: WSLS News 10

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