‘State of the Air’ Report Reveals Honolulu is One of the Nation’s Cleanest Cities, While Maui County Lags

American Lung Association 2023 “State of the Air” report highlights air quality in Hawaiʻi and across the nation.
The American Lung Association’s 24th annual “State of the Air’ report highlights that despite decades of strong progress in cleaning the air, many Americans still face difficult air pollution challenges. This year’s report grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone air pollution, annual particle pollution and short-term spikes in particle pollution over the three-year period of 2019 – 2012.

Honolulu was named one of the best cities in the nation for ozone, short-term and annual particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s 2023 “State of the Air” report, which was released today. Nationally, the report found that nearly 120 million people, or more than one in three, in the U.S. live in counties that had unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

Another bright spot in the report is that Hawaii County has received an A grade for 24-hour particle pollution, after receiving an F grade the past 2 years due to volcanic fissures on the island and the associated volcanic smog, or VOG. Honolulu and Kauai County continued to receive A grades while Maui County stayed at an C grade, most likely fueled by various brush fires that have occurred on Maui island during the 3-year reporting period. 

“Here in Hawaii, we are fortunate to have clean, healthy air to breathe for most of our residents. Around the nation, there is more work to do,” said Pedro Haro, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Hawaii. “Even one poor air quality day is one too many for our residents at highest risk, such as children, older adults, those who are pregnant and those living with chronic disease. While we are encouraged to see the positive movement in air quality on Hawaii County, we continue to be troubled by the quality of air for Maui residents due to the brush fires that have plagued the island and contributed to unhealthy air.”

The American Lung Association is calling on President Biden to urgently move forward on several measures to clean up air pollution nationwide, including new pollution limits on ozone and particle pollution and new measures to clean up power plants and vehicles. See the full report results and sign the petition at Lung.org/SOTA.
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