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New York City Flunks Air Quality Report


Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx all get “F’s,” but the American Lung Association’s report still says air quality is improving in the Big Apple.

New York City’s air ranks amongst the dirtiest in the United States. According to the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, the five boroughs have the worst air in state, with the Bronx representing the most dangerous levels of pollutants statewide. 

Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx all received failing grades for their ozone or smog levels. The Bronx also failed in the Association’s particle pollutant category, which measures the levels of ash, soot, heavy metals and deadly chemicals in the air. 

But, Michael Seilback from the ALA still says this year’s report is a mixed bag. “[W]e’re still seeing failing grades,” Seilback said in a phone interview, “[but] air in New York City is cleaner than it has ever been in the 12 years that we’ve looked at this report.”

The air quality in New York City is not great, but it is getting better and Seilback attributes that to some government intervention. He says federal initiatives like the Clean Air Act and local action like Mayor Bloomberg’s PlanNYC have all had a positive impact on the City’s air.

Seilback is nervous the state will start to rollback some of the programs that have helped clean up New York City's environment. “Now is the time we need to be moving forward. We know that cleaning the air works. We know that it leads to less hospitalization and healthier New Yorkers.”