2012 Media Releases

May 4, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Chris Schroeder, Air Quality Supervisor, 402-441-6272

Lincoln One of Cleanest Metros in Nation for Ozone

Lincoln has been ranked as one of the cleanest metropolitan areas in the country for ozone, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. The rankings are based in part on the Air Quality Index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to alert the public to daily unhealthy air conditions.

The annual "State of the Air 2012" report used data collected by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) for the two most widespread types of air pollution - ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). The Lung Association gave Lincoln grades of A for ozone, B for short-term particle pollution and "pass" for annual particle pollution.

Scott Holmes, Manager of LLCHD's Environmental Health Division, said EPA regulations on vehicles, industries and businesses have reduced air pollution, especially nitrous oxides and volatile organic compounds that combine to create ozone.

"The City and businesses have worked collaboratively to improve air quality and assure our residents that their air is safe to breathe," Holmes said. "Federal grant money was used to reduce pollution from older diesel trucks, buses and heavy equipment used by the City, the Lincoln and Norris school districts and trucking companies. Alternative power units were installed on eight BNSF Railway switch engines, reducing pollution by nearly 50 percent."

The American Lung Association reports that more than 40 percent of people in the U.S. live in areas where air pollution can cause wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death.

The LLCHD recommends the following action to reduce air pollution:

  • Drive less. Combine trips, walk, bike, carpool and use buses.
  • Keep your car well-maintained and tires properly inflated.
  • Buy electric-powered lawn and garden equipment.
  • Use less electricity by turning off lights and using energy-efficient appliances.
  • Don't burn wood or trash.

More information is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: air).