The American Lung Association (ALA) recently released a report on air pollution throughout the United States, and despite Pennsylvania’s history in dealing with air pollution — starting in Donora, of course — there remain areas in the state still showing up on the ALA’s Most [Air] Polluted list. The Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton area ranks eighth, in fact, in annual particle pollution out of 187 metropolitan areas and tenth in 24-hour particle pollution.
Certainly there have been strides made in the nation’s ability to combat air pollution. The greater Pittsburgh area, which once served basically as “Air Pollution Central” due to the many steel plants there, has seen continued progress (right) for many years, as have most cities throughout the U.S. We need to remain fully committed to this path to attain truly clean air.
Unfortunately the current administration seems bent on doing whatever it can to undo the progress the nation has made. From redefining the definition of soot to rolling back dozens of environmental rules and regulations to literally ignoring pollution science, the EPA is regressing and endangering the health of millions of people, not to mention the health of our planet.
So, could Donora happen again? Here?
Absolutely, and probably sooner rather than later.
“A clean and healthy environment is the single most important precondition for ensuring good health. By cleaning up the air we breathe, we can prevent or at least reduce some of the greatest health risks.”
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, MD, Director General, World Health Organization