BOSTON (State House News Service) — Air quality in Springfield and the Boston metropolitan area has improved over the past year in certain categories as other cities in the Northeast demonstrated worsening air conditions, according to the newest "State of the Air" report from the American Lung Association.
Springfield fell a few notches from 9th to 14th nationwide among cities with the lowest levels of year-round particle pollution, but both the Springfield and Boston areas recorded fewer unhealthy days for ozone pollution compared to last year.
Counties across the state have also held their own: no one county received a lower grade for ozone pollution in the Lung Association's 2021 report, and all counties maintained A or B grades for short-term particle pollution.
"In many ways, Massachusetts has been a leader when it comes to air quality -- and this year we are seeing some rewarding results. The American Lung Association's 2021 'State of the Air' report demonstrates great progress, and that we are on the right track when it comes to improving air quality for Massachusetts residents," said American Lung Association Director for Advocacy in Massachusetts Trevor Summerfield.
Summerfield said "complacency" will be the biggest challenge moving forward. "The report reinforced that people of color are significantly more likely to breathe polluted air. Our elected officials must continue to act boldly to recognize climate change, understand and move forward the cause of environmental justice, and acknowledge air pollution as a serious public health concern," he said.
While grades for ozone pollution across Massachusetts held steady, only Franklin and Middlesex Counties earned above a C grade. With respect to particle pollution, the state's counties fared better on the Lung Association's scorecard with all counties meeting the national standard, though Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, Worcester, Franklin, Hampshire, and Dukes counties all measured worsened year-round particle pollution.
Hampden County was the only county that recorded improved year-round particle pollution.
By Matt Murphy, State House News Service