The United States of Pollution

The American Lung Association has recently issued their reports on the “State of the Air” in the US in 2014, and it’s not looking so good for California.

The backside of Mount Lee in Los Angeles – you can see the smog! (from my trip in December 2013)

Los Angeles/Long Beach takes the cake at #1 most polluted city (for ozone), and 4 other California areas make up the rest of the top 5: Visalia/Porterville/Hanford at #2, Bakersfield at #3, Fresno/Madera at #4 and Sacramento/Roseville at #5. For the complete list of rankings, click here.

The smog/pollution is a result of ozone – pollutants in the lowest level of the atmosphere that acts as “urban smog” and is a threat to human health as well as the biosphere. For more information on ozone, visit the EPA’s website.

The bottom 5 consists of:

  • Houston/The Woodlands, TX
  • Modesto/Merced, CA
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  • Washington/Baltimore/Arlington, DC/MD/VA
  • Las Vegas/Henderson, NV.

Why are these cities the worst polluted in the country? Probably due to the increase in population and therefore the increase of fossil fuel burning and greenhouse gases emitted by cars.

I think it’s worth it to share the top 10 cleanest cities for ozone pollution, to show that some cities are doing a good job at curbing pollution (and some are some of the smallest areas in the country, likely helping them land on this list. I mean, have you ever been to Bismark ND? It is really tiny):

  • Anchorage, AK
  • Bangor, ME
  • Bellingham, WA
  • Bend/Redmond/Prineville, OR
  • Bismark, ND
  • Brownsville/Harlingen/Raymondville, TX
  • Brunswick, GA
  • Burlington, VT
  • Cape Coral/Naples/Fort Meyers, FL
  • Charleston/North Charleston, SC

Even though California has 6 areas on the “most polluted” list, it is one of the environmental conscious states in America – at least not in terms of pollution. But that is a blog post for another day!

One thought on “The United States of Pollution

  1. To think I am moving to California to get away from the over urbaness of NYC. I just thought Cali was fresher. I will see if any of those cities are in Northern, CA. Thanks for posting!

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