Salisbury’s air quality ranked 9th best in U.S.

Go ahead, take a deep breath. The air in Salisbury is pure enough to enjoy it, so fresh it contributed to the city being named ninth-cleanest in the country, on a list published by Realtor.com.

Research, completed by a Realtor.com team, determined the 10 cleanest cities, in order from first to 10th.

They are Naples, Fla.; Salem, Ore.; Ocala, Fla.; Anchorage, Alaska; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Eugene, Ore.; Little Rock, Ark.; Salisbury; and Salinas, Calif.

“We looked at 150 metro areas, not just cities. We looked for pollutants, chemicals released from factories, air quality, water quality. Out of those 150 metro areas, Salisbury ranked high on things like air quality,” Clare Trapasso, senior news editor for the site, based in Santa Clara, Calif., told the Salisbury Independent this week.

“Salisbury had good air quality 78.5 percent of the time in 2016. The EPA defines a good day as when air quality is satisfactory with little or no risk,” Trapasso said.

Research showed what she called “a huge decrease” of 86 percent, in the amount of chemicals released from factories in 2015, compared to 2005.

Although researchers concentrated on the metro areas Trapasso mentioned, and not areas within city limits, “a lot of interesting stuff was found about Salisbury in general,” she said.

“For the first time in 30 years, the state is close to meeting all federal air quality standards. The Maryland House voted to override the governor’s veto of the Clean Energy Job Act, which will lead to more wind and energy sources,” Trapasso said.

According to EPA statistics, the area of Salisbury with the ZIP Code 21801 has a rating of 33, on an air quality scale of zero to 500.

“Anything from zero to 50 is really good. The lower number the better,” Trapasso said.

Salisbury has two green schools, the city replaced more than 100 lightbulbs with LED bulbs, parking lots have been converted to bio-retention areas, walking and biking routes are being built and Salisbury University received a green leadership award.

The city’s ranking on the list of cleanest cities “shows that Salisbury is doing something right,” Trapasso said.

“For somebody concerned about living in a clean city, Salisbury is an option along the coast,” she said.

Cleanest cities are “typically set amid agricultural communities, with a national forest or natural reserve nearby,” according to a news release issued by Realtor.com.

“Meanwhile, the most polluted cities are former industrial hubs in the Rust Belt and along the Gulf of Mexico,” the news release states.

Overall, pollution in the United States has declined in recent years.

“The nation’s industrial facilities released 25 percent less toxic chemicals in 2015 than in 2005,” the release states, citing data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Credit was given to green chemistry, improved waste management and fewer industrial facilities.

The worst polluter in the country is Philadelphia, “where a whopping 13.4 million pounds of poisonous chemicals were released in 2015 by oil refineries, shipyards and auto manufacturers,” the news release states.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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