Report: America's vacation spots have dirty air
August 5, 1999
Web posted at: 9:47 a.m. EDT (1347 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Many of America's popular vacation getaways are being choked by unhealthy smog levels that are "as bad or even worse" than air pollution in cities, two environmental groups said Thursday.
"Whether we stay at home, head out to favorite vacation spots or go to summer camp, we face unhealthy ozone smog levels wherever we turn," according to a report from the Clean Air Network and the Clean Air Task Force.
The groups based their report on preliminary mid-summer data from 32 states and the District of Columbia.
"The best way to reduce smog in vacation spots is to reduce air pollution nationwide. We all need to work together to reduce the threat of air pollution by cleaning up power plants, cars, trucks and fuels, the biggest sources of ozone smog," the report says.
Among the findings:
- Cape Cod National Seashore has had higher pollution levels and more bad air days than Boston.
- Maine's Acadia National Park has had pollution levels this year on a par with Philadelphia.
- In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, ozone levels have exceeded those recorded in every Southern city except Atlanta.
- Maryland's Eastern Shore has shown air pollution levels on par with Washington, D.C.
- The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a popular vacation spot on Lake Michigan, has had twice as many dirty air days as Indianapolis, the state's largest city.
- The area of Pennsylvania that includes Amish farmland and the city of Lancaster has had twice as many dirty days as Philadelphia.
The report says continued exposure to ozone smog is a powerful lung irritant that has a cumulative impact on the body. It is especially dangerous to children, the elderly and people with asthma and other lung diseases.
The report also says people who work and exercise outside are at high risk.
"There is no escaping air pollution in most of the United States," the report concludes. "Large metropolitan cities, the suburbs and even small towns are affected by the smog. But even more disturbing is the smog we find at many of the nation's favorite vacation destinations. In some cases, the smog at vacation destinations is as bad or even worse than the pollution left behind in the city."
"We owe it to future generations to continue to make progress on cleaning up air pollution, leaving a cleaner and clearer legacy for our children," it says.
10 U.S. cities improve air quality
July 8, 1999
Southern air pollution study under way
June 25, 1999
Air activists and public rally behind EPA
June 17, 1999
New York prepares for climate change
June 8, 1999
Western U.S. to get smoggy summer, fall
June 2, 1999
Clean Air Network
National Park Service
Cape Cod National Seashore
Acadia National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Home Page
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.