Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why US Skies Keep Getting Cleaner

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why US Skies Keep Getting Cleaner

Article excerpt

The sky is a little bluer over the United States, as a new report suggests the air is slowly but surely becoming cleaner.

The air quality in many cities has improved markedly thanks to improved technology in fuel-burning mechanisms, although problem areas remain, the American Lung Association announced Wednesday.

"What we're seeing in the report is progress nationwide in both particle pollution reduction and ozone pollution, but I will point out that we have a long way to go nationwide," says Lyndsay Alexander, assistant vice president of the American Lung Association's Healthy Air Campaign.

The biggest improvement came as counties studied across the United States lowered the levels of particle pollution in the air. Although weather patterns change air quality, 16 US cities hit their lowest levels of particle pollution ever for the entire year. This included Los Angeles, although it remains the nation's most polluted city for ozone pollution, while Bakersfield topped the list for particle pollution.

"You accept the victories and you always want things to be better," Norman Edelman, senior scientific adviser to the American Lung Association, told ABC News. "They can be better and it would make a difference."

Many cities benefitted from both new practices at power plants fueled by coal and better emissions and engine technology in cars and larger vehicles.

"Retrofitting and retiring the old, dirty engines in construction equipment and school buses is really helping air pollution," Ms. Alexander says.

Improvement came across the United States, and many areas are seeing the effects of the 1970 federal Clean Air Act. Although some still have dirty air, many of the nation's most polluted cities were slightly cleaner than last year. In Ohio, for example, particle pollution readings improved in Cleveland, making it among 16 cities that reported their lowest levels of particle pollution on record, reported The Plain Dealer. …

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