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New report claims Michigan's air quality is improving

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The quality of Michigan’s air continues to improve. 

That’s the finding of a new report out today.

The American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report looks at a variety of issues, from 24-hour to year-long particle pollution to ozone levels.

Key “State of the Air 2015” findings include:

·         More than four in 10 people (nearly 44 percent) in the United States live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution.

·         Nearly 17.8 million people (5.6 percent) in the United States live in the 12 counties with unhealthful levels of all three measures: ozone, short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. 

·         Overall, the best progress came in the continued reduction of year-round particle pollution in the eastern half of the nation, thanks to cleaner diesel fleets and cleaner power plants. 

·         Ozone was mixed, with many cities doing better than in the 2014 report, but many having more unhealthy ozone days.

Janice Nolen is the assistant vice president for national policy for the American Lung Association. 

She says Michigan, and Detroit in particular, has seen a steady decline in ozone and airborne particles. 

“It’s definitely has been a steady improvement because of steps put in place under the Clean Air Act to clean it up,” says Nolen. 

Nolen credits regulations curbing pollution from power plants and automobiles for the decline.

California cities top the list of the communities struggling with the worst air, with Fresno, Bakersfield and Los Angeles scoring high on the list for particles and ozone.  

Grand Rapids is among the top 20 U.S. cities when it comes to ozone. Michigan’s southwest border with Indiana also ranks high on the ozone list.

Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Lansing and Saginaw were among the Michigan cities on the list for cleanest for “short-term” particle pollution.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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