The American Lung Association has released their 2017 State of the Air rankings and the Upstate South Carolina region is continuing to see the ratings for counties within the region improve. Of the Upstate counties specifically referenced in the report, Abbeville, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties received “A” ratings for Ozone; while Greenville, Spartanburg and Cherokee received “B”. This marks the first time that all seven counties have received an A or B rating.
In 2016, Spartanburg and Anderson were rated as a “C” and Cherokee a “D”. Dating back to 2012, Spartanburg had received an “F” grade and the rest of the Upstate was rated as a “C”, so the improvement within the region over the last few years has been remarkable and good for the health of all Upstate residents.
These ratings are consistent with the ozone monitor numbers that are recorded by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) as part of the EPA Clean Air Act monitoring. The emission numbers in the Upstate have seen steady improvement over the last 15 years and now, for the first time ever, the Upstate region is well within the current EPA attainment standards.
Since 2012, Ten at the Top has coordinated the Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee, which includes public, private and civic stakeholders all focused on ensuring the Upstate’s air quality continues to meet federal standards. Through voluntary efforts of many businesses, local governments and residents, the air quality in the Upstate is continuing to improve.
The American Lung Association measures the state of the air by analyzing particle pollution in two different ways: the average annual levels of particle pollution and spikes of short term particle pollution. The levels of ozone and particle pollution are measured at official monitoring sites maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency. To view the American Lung Association State of the Air 2017 report in its entirety please visit www.tenatthetop.org and click on Natural Beauty & Resources.
The week of May 1st through May 5th is recognized as Air Quality Awareness Week. This special week provides an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of clean air and simple ways we can improve our air quality. Check out www.CleanAirUpstate.org or the Ten at the Top Facebook page for tips on how to play a role in keeping our air clean and safe for everyone in the Upstate.