Smoke lowers state’s air score
The air in Honolulu is among the cleanest among U.S. cities, but smoke from annual New Year's fireworks gave the city a D grade in the American Lung Association annual State of the Air report.
The city, along with Albuquerque, N.M., and Duluth, Minn., posted the best score for annual levels of ozone and particle air pollution, according to the study released yesterday. It ranked Honolulu third among the top 25 cleanest American cities for long-term particle pollution, behind runner-up Santa Fe-Espanola, N.M., and Cheyenne, Wyo.
The American Lung Association of Hawaii warned that particle pollution measured on Dec. 31 was enough to bring down the county's air score to a "barely passing grade." The report did not look at the effect vog -- a combination of fumes, dust and moisture in the air -- has on the population.
The state Health Department's Clean Air Branch, while acknowledging the poor air quality during New Year's celebrations, has said the D grade gives the false impression that Honolulu's air is typically bad. The Health Department says tradewinds help keep Oahu's air clean.
Nationally, the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside in California tied for first place for having the most year-round particle pollution, followed by Pittsburgh and Bakersfield, Calif.