Orlando's Lake Eola. Photo: Mick Haupt

The Central Florida region continues to rank as one of the cleanest communities when it comes to air quality, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. Poor air quality can have effects on health, especially for children or anyone with respiratory illness like asthma or COPD.

The report looked at three years of data, from 2018 to 2020 and looked at both particle pollution and ozone gas.

Particle pollution comes from things like construction, factories, power plants, burning fossil fuels, and motor vehicles. Ozone gas forms when certain chemicals, usually created by burning fossil fuels, are cooked in the lower atmosphere — both can be respiratory irritants.

“We did see that Orlando area experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone in this report,” said American Lung Association’s Ashley Lyerly. “This is actually a better ranking than what we have seen in in years past. That certainly is a welcome change.”

Short-term spikes of particle pollution were also on the decline, but year-round measures of particles in the air increased slightly.

Keeping an eye on energy use, transitioning to fuel-efficient vehicles, and advocating for local governments to reduce fossil fuel usage are good ways to keep the region’s air clean.

“We want to continue to see improvements in the Orlando metro area,” said Lyerly. That includes “being mindful of some strategies that you could do yourself can be advocating for not only in your own community but also at the state level and nationally around air quality.”

The most polluted regions based on short-term and long-term particle pollution, as well as ozone pollution, were located in California

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