Hawaii residents are breathing some of the cleanest air in the nation, says Pedro Haro, executive director of the American Lung Association in Hawaii.
The latest report from the American Lung Association ranked Honolulu first and the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina area second in the country for year-round particle pollution in the nation, according to ts “State of the Air” 2021 report, which covers 2017-2019.
Haro warns, however, that “increasing climate change is threatening our air quality.”
“While we should be happy with the results of this report, people in Hawaii must remain vigilant when phenomena that threaten our clean air occur, such as unhealthy vog episodes. It’s due to vog that Hawaii County doesn’t share the same clean air that we see on Oahu and Maui.”
Honolulu had zero unhealthy days of high ozone compared in the 2021 report, which was similar to the 2020 report.
Also the 2021 report found year-round particle pollution levels in Honolulu were similar to last year’s report, and that the city had zero days of unhealthy short-term particle pollution and ozone pollution.
This year’s report shows that four in 10 people, or 135 million individuals across the country, are living with polluted air, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal.
The State of the Air 2021 says people of color were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people, and three times more likely to live in a county with failing air quality grades.
The report analyzes particle pollution by average annual levels and short-term spikes.
Both particle pollution (soot) and ozone (smog) can cause premature death and other serious health problems, including asthma attacks and cardiovascular damage.
They also can cause developmental and reproductive problems, the lung association says.
And soot can cause lung cancer.