Youngstown region second only to Cincinnati in Ohio's bad air days


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Youngstown is among the Ohio cities with the highest levels of air pollution, according to a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman had the second-highest number of days with elevated smog pollution in Ohio with 71 in 2015. Cincinnati led with 88. Cleveland-Elyria had the third-highest with 68 and Columbus followed with 61.

Of those 71 days, only four of the days were unhealthy for sensitive groups. The rest were considered moderate.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler said one of the factors that increases Youngstown area smog numbers is that smog measurements are affected by “where the wind blows.”

In other words, the smog measured in the Youngstown area is also coming from downwind areas to the west and northwest, such as Cleveland or Akron.

But overall, the state has made progress on its air pollution, he said.

The federal government measures pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and lead.

“Just look at the progress we have made,” Butler said during a talk in Howland Thursday afternoon sponsored by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber. “We’re virtually in compliance with all the federal rules.”

Because the Cleveland area doesn’t quite meet the federal rules, it has the e-check program, which requires vehicle owners in Cuyahoga and six surrounding counties to have their vehicle inspected and maintained to control vehicle emissions.

Read more about the situation in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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