Air Quality From Bad to Worse: Sentinel News

May 3, 2007: Sentinel News

Air Quality From Bad to Worse

by Jessica Bruni

Excerpt:

For months, members of the Clean Air Board have spoken to the community in horrified tones about the Carlisle area’s ranking as the 24th most polluted metropolitan area in the nation regarding fine particulate matter.

Well, the area no longer ranks at 24. It’s now at No. 14.

On Tuesday, the American Lung Association released its 2007 list of best and worst cities for air quality standards. Moving up the ladder from No. 24 to No. 14 in the category of metropolitan area “most polluted by short-term particle pollution” was the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon area.

People, truck, traffic affect quality

However, Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health for the American Lung Association, said, there’s little doubt the influx of people, trucks and traffic into the area has had a negative effect on air quality. For the record, the Carlisle area had 44 bad air days over a three-year period while Dauphin County had 38. Both, Stewart said, were enough to qualify the areas to make the ALA’s bad air list.

The Carlisle area also has the unlucky distinction of being located upwind from the Baltimore Washington corridor — meaning all the pollution from that congested area travels here. At the same time, the area also draws in down winds from the west, bringing in pollution from the rest of Pennsylvania, Virginia and beyond.

“All of those sources together are what has created the air pollution problems that we observe here,” Stewart said.

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