State of the Air

The American Lung Association released its annual state of the air report for April 2015.

Chattanooga was once known as the dirtiest city in the country. Amber Boles, Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau said, "In the 50’s and 60’s we had a lot of industry here. A lot of railway activity and we were a booming town which resulted in a lot of air pollution, a lot of smog and particle pollution." Even in the middle of the day, Chattanooga looked like it was night time due to soot in the air. But over the years, air quality has improved tremendously. Chattanooga and Hamilton county currently meet all of the health based standards and is the only county in Tennessee to receive an "A" in one of the categories. Bob Colby, Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau Director said, "We have done vehicle inspection program for 10 years now, and we’ve also seen a substantial reduction in coal fire power plant production. A lot of the power now is being generated by natural gas."

However Hamilton county did receive an "F". Colby said, "As for the "F" on ozone, we find it important to note that the American Lung Association standards for grading are much different from the U.S. EPA’s. U.S. EPA’s sets a health base standard and we currently meet that." There are several things people can do to help keep our city looking far from what it used to in the 1950’s. Boles said, "Transportation is the highest polluter in Hamilton county. And so one of the best things we can do is carpool, ride the public transit and reduce daily trips." If you’d like the daily air quality report from the Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau visit

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