According to the American Lung Association (AML), even with improvements in air quality, Essex, Bergen and Morris Counties still have the worst air quality in the US. In the report, State of the Air 2013, which covered years 2009 to 2011, Bergen, Essex, and Morris counties had fewer days with soot in the air. However, the counties experienced increased smog levels.
The report places the three counties at 17th place for worst ozone smog. Last year the three counties were at 15th place, so this is an improvement. In measures for soot pollution, the three counties were rated 55th place for short term and 45th place for long term, which is much better place than those which measured the worst 25 for both measures of soot pollution. Although, since the first report 13 years ago, the state’s overall average air quality for ozone and daily particle pollution was at its cleanest.
Deb Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic said, “The air in New Jersey is certainly cleaner than when we started the ‘State of the Air” report 14 years ago. Even though Atlantic and Bergen Counties experienced increases in unhealthy days of high ozone smog, the air quality is still better compared to a decade ago. But the work is not done, and we must set stronger health standards for pollutants and clean up sources of pollution in New Jersey to protect the health of our citizens.”
The report also reflects that all counties in New Jersey continue to struggle with days of bad air for ozone smog. Ten counties earned an ‘F’ last year and this year again out of the 14 counties that were measured. Essex County was added to this year’s ‘F’ list.
Even though we’re seeing improvements in air quality, the report confirms that 4 in 10 people (42 percent) and that’s more than 31.8 million still live in areas that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution.
The American Lung Association’s website urges us to take action for cleaner air quality. The organization’s website states, “Now is the time for clean cars. Cars, light trucks and SUVs may be cleaner than they used to be, but they are still a major source of toxic air pollution that can make you sick. This year, the US Environmental Protection Agency has the opportunity to set new health protections that will reduce this pollution by cleaning up gas and setting stronger limits on tailpipe emissions for vehicles. These standards will reduce harmful smog and soot pollution that can make it difficult to breathe, trigger asthma attacks, and worsen heart and lung health, and even kill.”
The AML website offers you a link to the EPA asking you to request the standards from the EPA for this year. In addition, a link to Congress is also available asking you to request that Congress protect the Clean Air Act today.
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