How Much Of An Improvement?

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Each year, the American Lung Association compiles a list of cities and counties, according to the quality of air in each location.

The good news is, things seem to be improving in West Virginia. five cities which were in the top 25 a year ago for particulate pollution, have dropped out of the upper part of that list. All are metro areas, including Parkersburg, Huntington and Charleston.

"I think it is improving marginally, in terms of air quality," says Dr. Eric Fitch, Professor of Environmental Science, Marietta College. "We still have the problems with the ozone and with the particulates."

Dr. Fitch cautions, however, that the lack of presence of monitoring stations in surrounding counties makes it difficult to get a picture of air quality for the entire area. One of those counties without such a monitoring device is Pleasants, which is where the Pleasants Power Station is located.

"They're not really anyone's fault," Fitch says, "except for the people in the Congress and the state legislatures, who have funded a very incomplete and patchwork set of monitoring stations."

Most nearby counties got passing grades for ozone presence. Wood and Washington counties' grade was a "C".

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