Midstate fails air quality report

The air we breath in the Midstate needs some work, according the American Lung Association’s 2015 State of the Air Report.

Dauphin, York and Lebanon counties get failing grades for ozone. Only Adams County got a passing grade for particle pollution.

“The area does rank on two of the worst 25 lists for fine particle pollution, and that’s not a good place to be out of over 200 metro areas,” said Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health for the American Lung Association Mid-Atlantic Region.

Some of the pollution comes from neighboring states.

“We do have pollution that comes from the Ohio Valley and places to the west where there are dirty coal burning power plants,” said Stewart.

With two million people in the region, we also create our own pollution. Residents can help can help by maintaining vehicles, being energy efficient and not burning trash.

“There is this thought that we burn some trash and it goes into the atmosphere and it gets diluted. Well, the ocean of air is not an infinite ocean and, especially when the air is stagnant, some of those pollutants build up locally,” Stewart said.

Stewart says good things have happened. The trucking industry has become more efficient with older fleets being replaced with new ones that run on more efficient diesel fuel, but other areas need some work

“One of the areas that still needs improvement has to do with off road diesel and heavy equipment,” said Stewart.

The American Lung Association is hoping implementing a clean power plan at the federal level will also help clean up the air.

“Some of it is going to be controlling the emissions put out by the power plants, controlling existing power plants, and making sure new power plants are controlled,” said Stewart. “It will also look at the demand side and see that we are demanding less electricity and doing more controls there.”

DEP says Governor Wolf has a plan to help improve air quality. He wants to provide $225 million for alternative energy and energy efficient programs.

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