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Air Quality: Report shows West Virginia starting to improve

Though there are plenty who will argue the pace must be quickened, a recent report by the American Lung Association indicates we are slowly but surely making progress in improving air quality here in West Virginia.

In its “State of the Air Report,” the ALA granted the Charleston-Huntington-Ashland Metro area its highest grade ever for ozone smog, with a B. Year-round particle pollution was also its best ever, according to Molly Pisciottano, advocacy director for Pennsylvania and West Virginia for the ALA.

Air quality for the state as a whole was much improved, though Pisciottano told another media outlet “Spikes in particle pollution and ozone pollution can still be dangerous, especially for children or adults living with lung disease like asthma, COPD, and lung cancer.”

People come to West Virginia for a breath of fresh air, and it seems we are making strides in ensuring they will be able to get it. But the celebration must be short, as we know there is a long way to go before we make the adjustments necessary to be at the top of the class and get an A. We also know the ALA was doing the best it could to assess the situation with very limited information. A glance at its reports shows an unsettling number of DNCs (indicating there was no monitor to collect data in a county).

Take the grade for what it is, then: a small indicator that slow movement in the right direction has taken place, and there is MUCH work to do.

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