Dreary State Of The Air Results Reinforce Need for Residents to do Their Share for Cleaner Air This Summer

Article courtesy of the
St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership

With another air quality forecasting season now in full swing, the St. Louis region is still reeling from the results of the American Lung Association’s (ALA) 2012 State of the Air report which ranked St. Louis as one of most polluted cities in the nation. This dreary news comes as the area settles into the hottest time of the year when air quality conditions are typically at their worst. As a result, the St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership is stepping up its efforts to educate individuals on how the emissions-reducing actions they take can play a role in improving air quality conditions.

“The latest State of the Air report ranked St. Louis 10th in the nation for year-round particle pollution and 34th for ozone pollution, reaffirming what a critical concern air pollution continues to be for our region,” said Susannah Fuchs, senior director of environmental health for the American Lung Association of the Plains-Gulf region. “Both particle pollution and ozone pollution, which is a concern for the area during the summer months, can negatively affect the health of all of us, especially children, the elderly and the many individuals who suffer from respiratory disease. But the good news is there are lots of steps we can all take in our daily lives to help keep air quality conditions in the healthy range this summer and year-round.”

With transportation having the most profound impact on air quality, making the choice to drive less is an easy way to help reduce the emissions that lead to poor air quality. Actions like using transit, carpooling and vanpooling, combining errands into a single trip, telecommuting and walking and biking more to get around town can all help take cars off area roads, along with the related emissions. These actions are especially critical when poor air quality conditions are in the forecast.

The many green lifestyle changes we choose to make can also positively impact air quality and improve lung health in the region. These changes include efforts to conserve energy, recycle, reduce waste and reuse items.
“In many cases, people don’t realize that actions as simple as turning off the lights not in use, recycling drink containers or changing incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient ones all play an important role in reducing emissions,” noted Fuchs.

To stay updated on the air quality forecast, area residents are encouraged to visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website at www.cleanair-stlouis.com and sign up to receive the daily forecast in their email inboxes via the Environmental Protection Agency’s EnviroFlash air quality alert system. Individuals can also find the forecast on the Clean Air Partnership’s Facebook page or by following the organization on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.

“While the results of the 2012 State of the Air report are disappointing for the St. Louis region, we hope that the news will help drive home how important it is for area residents to stay up-to-date on air quality conditions this summer and encourage the public to get engaged in the clean air effort by taking steps to reduce emissions so the region can breathe easier,” said Fuchs.

To learn more about the health effects of poor air quality and get additional information on ways you can do your share for cleaner air, visit www.cleanair-stlouis.com. To access the ALA’s 2012 State of the Air report, visit www.stateoftheair.org.