In a press briefing on March 9, the Heinz Endowments released a report detailing how the region’s air pollution ranks among the most severe in the nation. The study, “Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone Air Quality in Western Pennsylvania in the 2000s,” was conducted by Dr. John Graham, a senior scientist with the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force.
While the report confirms what we already know, one of its key findings debunks the myth that the pollution in our area is all blowing in from other states. The report found that much of the region’s poor air quality is due to in-state sources, implying that local communities have the power to make changes that will remove Pittsburgh’s label as one of the worst-air regions.
In response to the report, the Heinz Endowments plans to launch a new effort focused on air quality. Endowments President Robert Vagt said, “The board and staff are committed to dedicating significant resources and manpower to lead a region-wide, public initiative that will build awareness of the problem and develop solutions.” Part of the initiative will be to launch a new section of the Heinz Endowments website dedicated to air quality awareness and action. It will go live later this month.
The initiative includes more intensive grant making to press for more federal oversight, more fact finding, and more partners to help forge solutions, including those from local industry.
The Heinz Endowments also released, “Understanding Western Pennsylvania’s Air Pollution Problem,” which summarizes the Clean Air Task Force report and states the position of the Endowments.
Read the Heinz Endowments press release here.