Ozone pollution continues to be a threat to Delaware, according to a report from Environment America Research & Policy Center.
The Wilmington metropolitan area experienced 97 days of smog pollution and 212 days of unhealthy levels of particulate matter, according to Environment America’s “Our Health At Risk”.
“This is all bad news for ozone which is likely to increase and cause more lung diseases, asthma attacks, and hospitalizations especially in children,” said University of Delaware professor Christina Archer.
The data is from 2015, but its release is on the heels of President Donald Trump’s announcement to roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and other environmental regulations. Lindsey Mendelson, a climate fellow for Environment America, said the rollback is concerning.
“We’re seeing this as a major threat to reducing pollution in Delaware and across the U.S. and that’s why it’s more important than ever that Delaware take up a leadership position in this,” Mendelson said.
Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says the state's unhealthy ozone levels results from emissions from upwind states. They filed two petitions with the Environmental Protection Agency last summer to investigate nearby power plants.
Mendelson said even one day with bad air is too many. That’s why the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is calling on state governors to double the rate of air pollution reduction - from cutting air pollution at 2.5 percent per year to 5 percent each year.
Archer said the best solution to reduce ozone pollution and global warming is replacing fossil fuels with clean and renewable energy, adding that adopting clean and renewable energy could bring more jobs to the First State.