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Hampton Roads scores well in State of the Air report, just before Earth Day

The American Lung Association said the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area met or improved on its air quality goals for the sixth consecutive year.

NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: the above video is from Earth Day of 2019.

The American Lung Association gave Hampton Roads a big "thumbs up" in its 2020 State of the Air report Tuesday.

The association, which promotes general lung health and uses air quality data from the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor city air pollution, said this area has matched or improved on the previous year's goals for six years running.

Coming just before the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, we think that news calls for a deep, grateful breath.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary for the country's Clean Air Act.

The association used data from 2016, 2017 and 2018 to come to its most recent findings.

"In addition to Hampton City and Suffolk City’s ozone smog performance again remaining unchanged from the previous year’s report, Hampton Roads posted its fifth year in a row with zero unhealthy days of fine particle pollution," the Lung Association wrote in its release.

In fact, Virginia Beach got an "A" on the small particle pollution report card. It showed its new lowest number of high-particle days, for the tenth year in a row.

There are several different metrics the assocation follows, though.

Unfortunately, the release estimated that high ozone air pollution in Hampton Roads put about 1,850,000 vulnerable people at risk this year.

Hampton and Suffolk were given a "B" in the report card for each city's number of days with high ozone pollution.

Ozone pollution particularly affects children, older adults and people with underlying lung diseases like asthma.

"Hampton Roads residents still experienced some days when they breathed unhealthy air, driven by emissions from vehicles and industrial sources, both locally generated as well as from upwind," the association wrote.

The report also said the nation as a whole hasn't been improving in air quality.

The American Lung Association warned about the dangers of climate change, and encouraged local and state leaders to take precautionary measures to keep the area safe.

"We all have the right to breathe clean, healthy air," it finished.

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