The COVID-19 pandemic cut air pollution across many of the world’s cities. Factories shuttered and, for a while, they had no emissions. People did not drive. They had nowhere to go. In places like Los Angeles, the air was as clean as it had been in decades.
Yet, air pollution still contributes to the deaths of millions of people in the world each year. Typically, cities in India and China are tagged as having the dirtiest air. However, the United States is not exempt.
According to the new report from the American Lung Association, the 2021 “State of the Air” report, “finds that millions of people are living with and breathing polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk.” The data is broken out by city and state.
The report reviews three types of air pollution: ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution.
Los Angeles has the dirtiest air based on ozone measurements. Climate Central defines “ground-level ozone is a pollutant.” It can come from “industrial plants, electric utilities, vehicle exhaust, wildfire smoke, and oil and gas extraction.”
The Los Angeles-Long Beach area is followed by other cities in California. Bakersfield is second and Visalia is third. Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego follow in that order.