© 2024 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Scroll down to see all available streams.
RADIO SERVICE NOTE: Listeners may experience broadcast issues due to system upgrades.

Maine cities get mixed grades in latest report card on air quality

City Hall towers over surrounding buildings as the Casco Bay Lines ferry Wabanaki travels out of the harbor, Wednesday morning, June 1, 2022, in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
City Hall towers over surrounding buildings as the Casco Bay Lines ferry Wabanaki travels out of the harbor, Wednesday morning, June 1, 2022, in Portland, Maine.

The latest American Lung Association report on Maine's air quality offers mixed results from last year. The report focuses on two types of pollution: ozone, which can reach unhealthy levels on summer days when sunlight combines with polluted air, and particle pollution that, when inhaled, can cause irritation and trigger lung disease.

Lung association official Lance Boucher says there's reason to celebrate in Bangor, which is one of seven cities in the country with the cleanest air.

"There's good news with Bangor being one of the cleanest cities, but [what is] really concerning is Portland and Cumberland County dropped from an 'A' grade to a 'C' grade this year for ozone levels," Boucher says.

Much of the pollution that contributes to ozone drifts into Maine from other states. But Boucher says Maine can help itself.

"We would love to see the state adopt measure here at home that both increase the use of electric vehicle, but also, we've endorsed the California clean car standards and now it's time to do ACC- 2 which is the next level of those standards," Boucher says.

The ACC-2 standards aim to have 100% of vehicles sold in California be zero-emission vehicles, powered either by electricity or fuel cell by 2035.

Particle pollution declined slightly in both Portland Bangor.

This is the 24th State of the Air report from the Lung Association. Overall, Boucher says the report shows ozone pollution improving nationwide, "thanks in big part to the success of the Clean Air Act." But, Boucher continues, "there is still more work to do."