Do you know how clean the air is in your community?
Air quality is both a climate issue and a public health issue. Air pollution directly impacts air quality and is linked to negative health conditions.
What is air pollution?
The World Health Organization defines air pollution as the contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. In the United States, many communities suffer from the impact of polluted air. In the United States, 4 out of 10 or 135 million people live in communities with unhealthy levels of pollution in the air.
Impacts on Health
Along with the negative impact air pollution has on the environment, it poses a serious threat to public health. Air pollution has been associated with heart problems as well as premature death. In addition, air pollution can cause decreased lung function and asthma.
What population is at risk?
In the United States, certain populations are at a higher risk for health complications due to air pollution. Racial and ethnic minorities experience higher levels of poor air quality. Individuals living in urban areas are among the populations at risk for developing health conditions related to air quality. Other populations at risk include those with lung and heart conditions, children, older adults, and infants.
A closer look at Indiana
From the national level, air quality is a major health and environmental concern. Taking a closer look locally, Indiana is ranked #30 in the country for air quality and #45 for air pollution. What can be done to improve air quality in Indiana? The state of Indiana currently has several state initiatives to improve air quality and air pollution. One of the biggest initiatives is highlighted in a State Implementation Plan (SIP). This plan details the responsibilities and enforcement of EPA regulations related to air quality. Visit the Indiana government website, to learn more about state efforts to support clean air.
Air quality and air pollution are major threats to public health and environmental health. We can all do our part to reduce and improve air quality in our community. How? The American Lung Association has created a national assessment “Zeroing in on Healthy Air”, which details the benefits and activities we can all take to reduce harmful pollutants to the environment. Visit the link to learn more and see where Indiana ranks in health benefits from clean air.