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Dec. 31 fireworks ruin air quality curve


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POSTED: Sunday, May 03, 2009

Smoke from New Year's Eve fireworks again was responsible for a D grade for Honolulu in a national air quality “;report card,”; says Jean Evans, executive director, American Lung Association in Hawaii.

“;We do very, very well, except for that one night (for short-term particle pollution), which is why we were advocating so greatly for some type of regulation for consumer fireworks,”; she said.

Hawaii has 154,000 people with some type of lung disease and “;that evening is a difficult time for them,”; she said.

Bills that would have tightened regulations for consumer fireworks died this session “;but we are going to fight again next year,”; she said. “;They wouldn't even pass one allowing counties to regulate fireworks at a higher level (than the state) or ban them.”;

Honolulu ranked third — below Cheyenne, Wyo., and Santa Fe-Espanola, N.M. — among the 10 cleanest American cities for long-term particle pollution in the national American Lung Association's State of the Air report.

Honolulu is fifth in a list of cleanest cities for ozone air pollution.

“;Our tradewinds basically keep our islands very clean, except for the volcano this past year,”; Evans said. But only man-induced pollution is considered in the annual look at air pollution, she said.

Honolulu has a bigger population than Cheyenne, she pointed out, and “;there are a lot of diesel emissions on freeways from a lot of trucks and buses, depending on wind patterns, especially in recessed areas.”;

The report said air pollution is “;a major threat to human health”; nationally.

“;When 60 percent of Americans are left breathing air dirty enough to send people to the emergency room, to shape how kids' lungs develop, and to kill, air pollution remains a serious problem,”; said national board Chairman Stephen J. Nolan.