The American Lung Association’s Tenth Annual “State of the Air” report cites several areas of South Carolina —including those containing large metropolitan areas —for poor air quality. That includes “high ozone days” as well has high concentrations of particle pollution.
American Lung Association Assistant Vice President for national policy and advocacy Janice Nolen says two areas of the state rank especially high in poor air quality. “Part of the Charlotte (NC) metropolitan area includes parts of South Carolina and that area as a whole ranked 8th most polluted for ozone in the U.S.. much worst than it was last year.
The Greenville-Spartanburg metropolitan area had the most ozone pollution of any area totally within the boundaries of South Carolina. It ranked on our list 63 out of about 219 metro areas.”
Nolen says the Greenville-Spartanburg area ranks 33rd on the most polluted metropolitan areas list for particle pollution.
Nolen says a number of areas of the state received failing grades as far as ozone and particle air pollution is concerned including the Upstate counties of Greenville and Spartanburg.
“We gave it an ‘ F’ unfortunately but that tells you there are problems because of that heat, because of the pollution coming in and also by the coal fire power plants that are so common throughout the Southeast you’re going to see pollution especially on the western side of the state.”
Richland County which contains the capital city of Columbia and Charleston County both received “F’s” for ozone and particle pollution. In total 11 counties received failing grades for ozone pollution. Edgefield County had the best grade of “B” for ozone pollution. Chesterfield, Georgetown, Greenwood and Oconee counties received “B’s” for particle pollution.
Nolen says air pollution remains a serious problem for more than 186 million Americans. “Children or teenagers because their lungs are still developing, older people, people over 65 because their lungs have been around for a long time, and people with chronic lung diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Particle pollution for folks who are especially at risk For that include those I mentioned and add to that people with heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.”
Nolen says each citizen can help clean up the air by conserving energy, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit rather than drive when possible. Also citizens should demand that their lawmakers take legislative steps to improve air quality.