Most Americans Still Live in Unclean Air According to Report

Costa Rica is known for its rich biodiversity, having the greatest density of species in the world and dedicating over 25% of its landmass to protected areas.  However, Costa Rica’s growing economy has experienced the strain with more vehicles on the road, increased manufacturing, and deforestation; air quality was on a downward trend as of 1999.   Costa Rica correctly saw the importance of taking steps to protect their country as one of the most sought-after Eco-destinations in the world.  Now, Costa Rica is making great strides toward improving air quality, including the continuation of reforestation projects and government incentives for importing hybrid vehicles and green-tech products.  The major cities of San Jose and Alajuela still have some work to do, but in our agricultural town of San Ramon the air is fresh and clean.   Conversely, as today’s article shows, The U.S. shows an overwhelming 60% of Americans living in high-risk areas.

SUE MANNING, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES – Six in 10 Americans — about 175 million people — are living in places where air pollution often reaches dangerous levels, despite progress in reducing particle pollution, the American Lung Association said in a report released Wednesday.

The Los Angeles area had the nation’s worst ozone pollution.

The report examined fine particulate matter over 24-hour periods and as a year-round average. Bakersfield, Calif., had the worst short-term particle pollution, and the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area of Arizona had the worst year-round particle pollution.

The U.S. cities with the cleanest air were Fargo, N.D., Wahpeton, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb.

The report is accurate but doesn’t show how far California has come, said Dimitri Stanich, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board.

“More than 45 percent of the days in the 1990 ozone season were considered very unhealthy (in the South Coast area). Today, 45 percent of the days are clean, more than double the number of clean days during 1990.”

“So while we are still not meeting the federal air quality standards, the concentrations that Californians are exposed to are coming down dramatically,” he said.

In Arizona, Benjamin H. Grumbles, the state’s environmental quality director, issued a statement objecting to the methodology of the report highlighting the Phoenix area’s levels of particulates such as dust.



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