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Tied for 24th is not all bad

April 27, 2011 - Art Smith

A recently released list of most polluted cities in the country put the Parkersburg-Marietta area in a four-way tie for 24th place.

It could have been worse, in fact it was for many other Ohio River communities on the list of “Year Round Particle Pollution.”

The Pittsburgh area ranked seventh on the list, Louisville, Ky. came in at 10th. Coming in at 12th was Steubenville and Weirton. They tied with the Huntington-Ashland area. View the complete list of most polluted cities.

The American Lung Association also released two other list, one “by ozone,” the other by “short-term particle pollution.” The Parkersburg-Marietta is not on either list, although some Ohio River communities are.

The large amount of coal-generated electric power that is produced up and down the valley is likely a major cause of the valley having so many spots on the list.

The mega-cities of the West Coast and corridor of population that is the northeast also claim many spots on the lists.

The reality is the Parkersburg-Marietta area has shown steady improvement over the last decade on all the lists.

The American Lung Association actually assigned a letter grade to communities on the list. “We” got a passing grade for Particles Pollutions - Annual, a “C” in Particle Pollutions – 24 Hour, and a big fat “F” in High Ozone Days, even though we now have 14.8 fewer days a year when the ozone level is unacceptable.

An “F” never sounds good, but the area actually is close to “passing.”

It is important to note even though the report just came out, it is looking at data that was recorded between 2007-2009. A lot can change in a few years, including in the Mid-Ohio Valley’s case, which saw the elimination of one of three coal-fired power plants.

The cleanest cities? — Sorry, there is not a single Ohio or West Virginia city on either list. If you want really clean air, your best bet is to move near an ocean or to the sparsely populated middle of the country. View cleanest cities in the country.


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