Environment and Energy
Bad Air Days, Perhaps Not So Bad
How many days during the summer do you open the paper to find warning about your region's air quality? Scanning today's headlines I saw ozone and air pollution alerts posted for Raleigh, Richmond and Pittsburgh.
While these reports are certainly important information for people who need to take precautions, what effect do they have on the image (or self-image) of your city? The average citizen probably doesn't know specifics about fine particulate matter or EPA attainment, however, they will likely draw conclusions about how dirty their city is from the frequency of air quality warnings in the daily paper. Thousands of individual conclusions could lead to an image problem for a city in which business and government leaders are cooperating successfully to improve air quality. That is why I was so heartened by a short article I read in last Friday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The story explains in simple English that while the region is on pace to top last year's number of bad air days, the actual air quality may have improved because federal standards have tightened. If your city is facing an air pollution image problem that undercuts the efforts made to improve, articles like this could help sway public perception.