The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report found Nebraska’s two most populous counties — Douglas and Sarpy — each got perfect “A” grades for high ozone days.
“Ozone is a gas that becomes dangerous with the right combination of heat and sunlight and it’s more likely to be blown in as it cooks under the right conditions,” according to the association’s Micki Sandquist.
Six Nebraska counties were also graded for what’s known as particle pollution. Scotts Bluff and Hall counties each got an A, Lancaster and Washington counties earned B’s, while Sarpy and Douglas counties got C’s.
“Particle pollution is a microscopic mix of solids that are more likely to come from local sources and they stay where the source is,” Sandquist says. “So it can be the local industries, the coal-fired power plants, diesel exhaust — they stay local, they’re not blown out like the ozone is.”
She says standards set under the legislation are driving the trend toward cleaner air — things like the clean-up of coal-fired power plants, the conversion of fleets to cleaner diesel engines and cleaner SUVs.
Nebraskans can take action, too.
“Individuals can protect themselves by driving less, walking, biking and carpooling,” Sandquist says. “They can also use less electricity by turning off the lights when they’re not in the rooms or refrain from burning wood or trash, and encouraging their local school systems to use clean school buses.”
See the American Lung Association’s full report for the state at: