Study Finds Houston’s Air Quality to be Second Worst in U.S.

April 25, 2024

Study Finds Houston’s Air Quality to be Second Worst in U.S.

You are currently viewing Study Finds Houston’s Air Quality to be Second Worst in U.S.
The bad air in Houston is largely due to factories.
  • Post category:News

Houston, which has commonly been referred to as the “energy capital of the world,” has actually been revealed to also be one of the capitals of the worst air quality, at least in the United States. A recent study found that Houston came in the number two spot for the worst air quality in the country.

The study came from SmartSurvey, an online surveying site, in which they conduct surveys and look at various pieces of data to come up with a report on different topics. In this case, they primarily analyzed data from the 2023 Environmental Protection Agency. Based on this information, they created a total index score for different areas around the United States. They then ranked the areas based on the scores from lowest to highest. The lowest score represented the area with the worst air quality.

The Inland Empire in California is the only area that beat out Houston.

This part of California refers to the Riverside, San Bernadino, and Ontario areas of Southern California. The Inland Empire received a score of 17.03. Comparatively, Houston, which per the study is specifically the Houston, Woodlands, and Sugar Land’s metropolitan area, had an air quality index score of 28.36. They also analyzed and reported information regarding the number of days in which they reported good air quality and in 2023, they only had 38 good days. They had 21 days fall under the category ranking of unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Interestingly enough, the Inland Empire actually had more days reporting good air quality.

The Inland Empire reported 54 days with good air quality. However, they also reported 59 days with air quality that was unhealthy for sensitive groups. Because of this and an average worse quality, it still took the top spot above Houston. The others in the top five for worst air quality were Albuquerque, New Mexico (#3); the Chicago, Naperville, Elgin area in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin (#4); and the Milwaukee, Waukesha, West Allis area of Wisconsin (#5).

According to SmartSurvey, a large contributor to the pollution and poor air quality of Houston lies in the large energy focused factories in the area. They are large oil refineries and petrochemical factories that release many foul pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

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