Air quality improves in many parts of New York state

Apr 25, 2012

The American Lung Association says there is some good news for those in this area who suffer from breathing problems. Many parts of New York state have seen improved air quality this year over last.

Onondaga, Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Oswego counties have all received better grades for ozone pollution from the American Lung Association's State of the Air Report for 2012. Syracuse-Auburn made the list of the cleanest cities in the nation in short-term particle pollution.

Michael Seilback, Vice President of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, says that while there's some good news, more work needs to be done to improve the air quality in New York.

Jefferson County, for example, received a failing grade for ozone levels.

"This report shows us that while we have made improvements, 3.2 million New York residents, roughly 1 in 6, live in a county with failing air quality. This is a major improvement from what we saw in last years report, but it's still not good enough," Seilback said.

There are several counties in New York that don't have monitoring systems. Janice Nolen, of the American Lung Association, says that the number of areas with air pollution problems could be underreported.

"It tells us whether the air we breathe is healthy or not healthy and whether what we're doing to clean it up actually works. So part of the reason that it's not in every county is that it is a pretty pricey thing to do," Nolan said.

The sources of pollution in this area as well as the entire state of New York are a mixture of pollution from old coal-fired plants blown over from the Midwest as well as locally produced pollution from things like power plants, factories, diesel trucks and vehicle traffic.