Why should we care about air quality?

Poor air quality is linked to increased rates of asthma and other chronic conditions. Each year, more than 200,000 Americans die from lung and heart diseases caused by air pollution. Improving air quality can prevent these deaths. Some sources of concern are busy roadways and factories.

Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts have a long history of high asthma rates. In 2018 and 2019, the region was the top “Asthma Capital” in the country, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Many community health programs in the region, including the Springfield Healthy Homes Asthma Program and other community health worker asthma interventions in the region are helping to improve asthma outcomes.

This network of over 50 air monitors throughout Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke was made possible through a partnership with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office’s Environmental Protection Division, which provided funding for the project as part of its long-running mission to promote healthy air for all residents of the Commonwealth.  For years, the Attorney General’s Office has successfully fought to reduce the amount of harmful ozone, particulate matter, and other dangerous air pollutants that drift into the Commonwealth from polluting sources—like power plants, factories, and motor vehicles—in upwind states.  Although there has been great progress in improving Massachusetts’ air quality, there is more to be done.  Data from this monitoring network will allow the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division to identify local air pollution sources and guide decisions about what enforcement actions and other solutions are necessary to guarantee clean air in the Pioneer Valley.