Concord comes off well while Keene and Berlin do badly in a new report about air pollution in New Hampshire communities.
The report from several groups reviewed Environmental Protection Agency air pollution records from across the country. The analysis focuses on ground-level ozone and fine particulate pollution, which come primarily from burning fossil fuels and from wildfires.
In a selection of New Hampshire communities, the Concord area had the fewest days with elevated ozone or particulate matter: just four.
By contrast, Keene had 26 days with elevated particulates. That was even more than the Boston region, which saw 16 days of high particulate pollution despite having so many cars and industry.
The Keene area has long had a problem with particulate pollution as it is located in a geographic bowl which often holds air in winter, allowing smoke from wood stoves to build up to dangerous levels.
Berlin saw 24 days with elevated ground-level ozone, a reflection partly of wind patterns that carry urban smog north.
The report was from the Environment N.H. Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group and the N.H. Public Interest Research Group’s education fund.
Air pollution increases the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, last year included periods in which people spent more time at home and drove their gas-powered vehicles less, yet bad air quality persisted, according to information released Tuesday by NHPIRG.
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