WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The environment we live in is vital when it comes to our overall health. Good news for the Port City. According to a new report Wilmington is at the top of the list for having the cleanest air in the nation.
“It’s great news,” New Hanover County Public Health Director, Phillip Tarte said. “Particularly for individuals suffering from chronic ailments, lung diseases, asthma, and other chronic conditions.”
The American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of the Air” report found North Carolina has earned mixed grades for the nation’s most widespread air pollutants.
Compared to the 2017 report, some North Carolina metro areas have seen an increase in ozone pollution slightly. This is in keeping with a trend seen across the nation of higher ozone pollution levels.
Charlotte ranks 41st as the most polluted city in the nation for ozone.
Fayetteville, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Greenville, Washington, Hickory, Lenoir, New Bern, Morehead City, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Roanoke Rapids, and Wilmington experienced zero unhealthy air days and were named among the cleanest cities for ozone pollution.
“I think they reflect a concerted effort of this community to attract the sorts of industries that increase our development while not paying a big cost in terms of the health of the people who live here,” Pediatrician Dr. David Hill said.
Charlotte, Concord, Fayetteville, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Greenville, Washington, and Wilmington were ranked among the cleanest cities for short-term particle pollution and experienced zero unhealthy air days.
While experts say the report is great for the Wilmington area, they believe more can be done.
“One being tobacco smoke. Particularly for those individuals inside that creates a lot of particulate matter. I think carpooling is an extremely effective way of doing that, decreasing our dependence on gasoline,” Tarte said. “And maybe conserving energy throughout the summer months.”
WWAY reached out to Wilmington Business Development CEO Scott Satterfield about the recent report, he sent us the following statement:
“We are pleased with this report. I believe that this is in large part due to advanced technology that is deployed across a variety of sectors that helps to lower emissions. The use of more efficient and environmentally friendly fuel sources like Natural Gas have helped foster an even better air quality position for Greater Wilmington. An example of this would be Duke Energy’s conversion to Natural Gas at the Sutton Power Plant.
We are confident and excited about continuing to help existing industries expand as well as recruiting new business and industry that helps to keep our economy diverse and offer an array of jobs in an environmentally responsible way,” Satterfield wrote.
Wilmington was the only city in the state to be featured on the cleanest cities list for year-round particle pollution.
“The 2018 ‘State of the Air’ report reveals that unhealthful levels of pollution put our citizens at risk,” June Deen, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Health Promotions for the American Lung Association in North Carolina, said. “Ozone pollution and particle pollution are two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants. Breathing these pollutants can cause asthma attacks, respiratory and cardiovascular harm, and even early death. Breathing particle pollution can also cause lung cancer. Despite the recent increase in ozone pollution, the ‘State of the Air’ 2018 report shows that the Clean Air Act has worked to clean up much of the dangerous air pollution across the nation for decades. The air is cleaner, but not clean enough to protect people’s health from harm. And climate change will continue to make both ozone pollution and particle pollution harder to clean up.”
Click here to learn more about city rankings, as well as air quality across North Carolina and the nation, in the 2018 “State of the Air” report.