Vermont cities rank high on clean air list

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 11:59 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2022 at 5:53 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington is getting some national recognition for its clean air quality.

The American Lung Association recently published its State of the Air report, ranking air quality in metro-areas across the country based on ozone pollution and short and long-term particle pollution.

“Burlington and South Burlington are some of the only metro-areas in the country that received ‘A’ level grades for all types of pollution,” said the association’s Trevor Summerfield.

He explained the metro area’s geographical location plays a role in those grades but that local policies are also a major factor. Burlington set a goal to be net-zero by 2030. With the electrification of cars and buildings underway, Mayor Miro Weinberger says the use of fossil fuels has been going down since 2019.

“If we get this right, we’re really showing the rest of the country you can succeed financially, and economically, and actually make life better,” Weinberger said.

The Vermont Department of Health’s William Irwin says clean air plays a vital role in people’s health, reducing asthma and heart and lung disease.

“I think the fact we have much less pollution here makes our risk of those particular outcomes better than in parts of the country that have more pollution,” Irwin said. He also added that people living in areas with clean air also tend to have more active and healthy lives.

“We just know cleaner air leads to cleaner lifestyles and if you can’t breathe, nothing else really matters,” Summerfield concluded.

The Vermont Department of Health has an online tool to help you track air quality.

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