Air Quality in Columbus, Ohio is Improving and Here’s Why That’s Happening
Columbus, Ohio, takes air quality seriously. In fact, the last time the city experienced concerning levels of air pollution was in 2012, according to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).
So, when a company stated that air quality in Columbus was one of the worst...
They didn’t take the air quality news lightly.
Instead, they started studying the air quality data further to understand why their results were so different. They even took it one step further and established an air quality program to collect more localized data and insights into what was happening.
In this article, we’ll dive into how Ohio uses air quality monitoring to boost their air quality data and develop more community-specific solutions.
Is the Air Quality in Ohio Deteriorating or Improving?
The answer to the question isn’t as simple as you might think. In 2022, Ohio EPA’s report found that air pollution in Ohio has declined for the past decade. Plus, the MORPC states that Mid-Ohio experienced good AQI levels for 96% of 2022. And the remaining 4% have moderate levels of air pollution.
However, a closer look at the report reveals still significant gaps in the data remain.
In 2018, for example, the Ohio State University cited the three air quality monitoring stations in Columbus aren’t enough to capture accurate localized data. While there are now four government-issued air quality monitors, they still don't cover the growing metropolitan area.
That's because air quality can vary from community to community and even building to building. For example, researchers in Los Angeles found that LA ports have high levels of air pollution compared to other areas in the city. One reason is that 40% of US imports go through these ports.
Another vital factor to consider is that the City of Columbus is quickly evolving. Columbus’ population grew by three percent in the last 20 years and will continue to grow as more business opportunities arise. One of which is the development of factories in the city, like Intel and Honda. All of these will certainly change the air quality in Columbus and Ohio.
But as we said, Columbus takes its air quality seriously. They’ve already implemented air quality programs that anticipate this growth and address past air pollution problems. On top of that, they’ve implemented energy efficiency programs, shifted to renewable energy, and even made the city friendlier to cyclists and pedestrians.
Most of all, they’ve launched the Neighborhood Air Quality Monitoring Program to gain more insight into the air quality on a local level.
How Ohio is Improving Air Quality Data with Air Quality Monitors
A joint project of the MORPC and Franklin County Health, the Neighborhood Air Quality Monitoring Program aims to enhance the particulate matter data of the region. Currently, the program plans to distribute 20 PurpleAir air quality monitors in ten different locations.
By doing so, they hope to answer questions like:
- How does air quality evolve over time?
- Do neighborhoods in Franklin County experience environmental inequities?
- How can we empower the community in the fight against air pollution?
- What are the most effective solutions to address neighborhood-specific air quality issues?
Additionally, MORPC has integrated the PurpleAir Map on their website, so that citizens can view real-time air quality data in their community. This helps them make more informed decisions that protect their health at certain AQI levels.
Since 2018, PurpleAir air quality monitors have earned a reputation amongst academics, researchers, and scientists for being highly accurate. An evaluation by AQ-SPEC also reports that the PurpleAir Classic model has a 97% correlation with FEM/FRM air quality monitors measuring fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
With richer air quality data available at Ohio’s fingertips, there’s nothing stopping them from further improving their air quality. They can develop more community-specific solutions, involve the public in mitigating air pollution, and even plan for a more breathable future.
Connect With PurpleAir
At PurpleAir, there are tons of organizations and researchers around the world using our data—from Google to the EPA. We’re thrilled to see research like this being used to help local neighborhoods, and we look forward to seeing plenty more in the future.
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