The air we breathe is getting worse. So, where is the cleanest air in New York? The answer may surprise you. Several places make the list, including two in Central New York.

Climate change is continuing to make air pollution worse. A survey by the American Lung Association ranks the cleanest cities in the U.S. based on ozone and particle pollution using official data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“This report shines a spotlight on the urgent need to curb climate change, clean up air pollution and advance environmental justice,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “The nation has a real opportunity to address all three at once – and to do that, we must center on health and health equity as we move away from combustion and fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.”

Several New York cities make the list for the cleanest air including Utica and Rome, tied for the cleanest metropolitan Ozone areas in the country.

Top 25 Cleanest U.S. Cities for Year-round Particle Pollution

#7: Elmira-Corning, NY
#11: Syracuse-Auburn, NY

Cleanest U.S. Cities for Short-term Particle Pollution

Albany-Schenectady, NY
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Olean, NY
Elmira-Corning, NY

Cleanest U.S. Cities for Ozone Air Pollution

Utica-Rome, NY - Tied for 1st for cleanest metropolitan areas in the country for Ozone

The worst polluted city in New York is no surprise. It's in the Big Apple and Newark.

The increase in air pollution and smog is mainly from humans and fossil fuel combustion according to the World Health Organization.

A record number of over 6000 cities in 117 countries are monitoring air quality, but people living in them are still breathing unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.

WHO is calling for local government officials to take steps immediately to improve air quality.

  • Transition to exclusive use of clean household energy for cooking, heating, and lighting
  • Offer safe and affordable public transport systems and cycle-friendly networks
  • Implement stricter vehicle emissions and efficiency standards
  • Invest in energy-efficient housing and power generation
  • Improve industry and municipal waste management
  • Reduce agricultural waste incineration, forest fires, and certain agro-forestry activities (e.g. charcoal production)
  • Include air pollution in curricula for health professionals and provide tools for the health sector to engage