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Soot Down Ozone Up In Central Illinois Cities

Wed, 30 Apr 2014 15:38:27 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

A new analysis of EPA air quality data shows mixed results for McLean and Peoria Counties. Mike Kolleng is the Manager of the Healthy Air Campaign for the American Lung Association in Illinois. Kolleng says Peoria ranked as one of the cleanest cities in the country for soot levels. McLean County scored a grade of B in that category of particle pollution. EPA data show McLean and Peoria Counties have better air quality than at any time since measurements started fifteen years ago. And Kolleng says Peoria County is one of the cleanest areas in the state for particle pollution.

"Local communities and cities have really been putting a lot of clean air requirements in place. There has been a lot of emissions abatement a lot of work done at the federal and local level in order to really curtail sort of emissions and other carbon footprint."

But, Kolleng says high smog days have become a bigger issue, moving from one or two ozone hazard days to eight in Peoria and seven in McLean County.

"This is kind of intrinsically tied a little bit to global warming and climate change. You get unpredictable weather patterns. You have heat waves and droughts and all those things kind of contribute to a lack of movement of the pollution, but also further creation of ozone. As temperatures rise ozone creation goes up. We are starting to really see that data correspond to global warming trends."

Kolleng says communities should try to boost usage of sustainable transportation, to limit car exhaust.

"It really just shows the importance and the difficulty we will have going forward protecting public health in terms of lowering ozone."

The Lung Association wants ozone regulations updated and funding for better air quality monitoring and enforcement by the EPA.

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