More than four in ten Americans (135 million people) breathe polluted air, according to an annual report released by the American Lung Association on Wednesday.
In its twenty-second report titled State of the Air, the association also said that climate change continued to exacerbate air pollution.
“This report highlights the urgent need to curb climate change, clean the air and promote environmental justice,” said Harold Weimer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, in a statement.
He noted that we have a “real opportunity to tackle all three (problems) simultaneously – and to do so, we need to focus on health and health equity, moving away from combustion and fossil fuels to clean up renewable energy.”
The 2021 report includes data from 2017-19, so any reduction in pollution last year due to the nationwide lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic was not taken into account.
2017, 2018 and 2019 were also among the six hottest periods in the world’s recorded measurement history. The report concludes that climate change continues to exacerbate air pollution; Many Western societies are returning to experience record high pollution, mainly due to smoke from wildfires and bush fires. The report covers the two main types of air pollution plaguing the United States: smog (also known as surface / tropospheric ozone) and soot (known as particulate matter). Smog forms on warm and sunny days; Increased due to chemicals leaching from automobile exhaust and from the chimneys of power plants and industrial facilities. Warmer temperatures increase the potential for ozone to form. The American Lung Association said soot pollution is also more deadly and poses greater health risks than smog, causing more premature deaths and lung cancer.
Once again, California had the most polluted cities in the country, mainly due to its geography and weather. Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Vesalia top the smog list. Bakersfield, Fresno and Vesalia led the way in soot pollution.
According to the report, the cleanest cities in the United States are: Burlington, Vermont, Charlottesville, Virginia, Elmira Corning, New York, Honolulu and Wilmington, North Carolina. To be on this list, “a city must not experience days of high ozone or high particle pollution, and be among the 25 cities with the lowest levels of particulate pollution in the year,” the report on its website reads for the US Daily. Today “.