Soot Cities: Alaska Battles Air Pollution
Alaska, which has some of the most pristine environments in the U.S., also has some of the worst air quality in its cities. According to the American Lung Association 2019 State of the Air report, Fairbanks ranked third and a section of Anchorage ranked 21st in cities with high levels of short-term particle pollution between 2015-2017, the latest years that figures are available. Although the numbers are poor, they still represent an improvement from the last air quality report. “Particle pollution is made of soot, or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices. These particles are so small that they can lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and can even be lethal,” warns Marge Stoneking, executive director at the American Lung Association in Alaska.