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Philly Not Bad In Soot, Bad Everywhere Else


Time to pick on Pittsburgh, who the Flyers are playing in the Stanley Cup semifinals starting Friday. In another in a long line of meaningless rankings — this one rating “kinda meaningless” as opposed to “completely meaningless” — Pittsburgh has ranked #1 in the American Lung Association’s list of America’s Sootiest Cities.

Not that Philly is doing any better. Philly got a 6.3 from and had 19 “orange days.” Shit! 19 orange days! a six-point-three! And, look, Philly is #11 in ozone and 22nd in short-term partical pollution.

The State of the Air 2008 blog says it, uh, well:

When I found out that this year’s report card reveals that that one in 10 people in the U.S. live in areas with unhealthy levels of all three types of pollution: ozone, short-term and year-round particle pollution, I immediately went online to check the levels in my own state to see how this affected me and my family.

Me, too! Anyway, where were we? Oh, yeah, Pittsburgh. Those sootmongers!

Philly’s Air Quality Lacking, But Thank Your Lucky Stars You Don’t Live In Lancaster!


The American Lung Association released its annual list of the nation’s most polluted cities earlier this week, and to no surprise Philadelphia is on the list.

After all, it’s a big city, our giant green Comcast Center isn’t finished and the currently mayoral candidates are the ones interested in environmental issues, not the current mayor.

What is kind of surprising is that Philadelphia only 24th, which (I suppose) isn’t so bad, considering York-Hanover-Gettysburg took 14th place and that bastion of pollution, Lancaster, was the 11th most polluted area in the country. (This is all in the “Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution” list.)

Lancaster, of course, is passing the buck on to the rest of the nation:

Lancaster County gets particle pollution from the Baltimore/Washington, D.C.-area and power plants operating in western Pennsylvania and as far west as the Mississippi River.

Wah wah wah. Hey, start cleaning up after those Amish and maybe then you can complain about other cities.

Update: Breathe easy, city residents! Or, rather, don’t. Philadelphia is still the second-worst city to live in if you have asthma.

York’s air ranked among the worst [AP/York Dispatch]
County air gets poor ranking from Lung Association [Lancaster New Era]
People at Risk In 25 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution [ALA]

There’s Something About Mercury


I’ve been thinking for a while that this state’s a little too healthy. And, finally, people are coming around to my view and doing something about it! Raw sewage in the Wissahickon Creek is a start, but it’s not the best type of pollution we can bring into our state. Think more debilitating. Think more dangerous. Think mercury.

Thank you, state legislators!

According to this very nice Inquirer editorial, the state senate is preventing the state Environmental Quality Board from implementing new restrictions on mercury emissions from coal mines. And what do coal mines give us:

Mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants endangers pregnant women, unborn babies, young children, subsistence fishermen and recreational anglers. Nationally, one in six children are born with enough mercury in their bloodstream to risk nerve, brain, heart or kidney damage.

Oh, goodie.

Weak swipe at a toxic pollutant [Inquirer]
Pa. Senate Passes Controversial Bill on Mercury Emissions [KYW 1060]
Earlier today: 55 Thousand Gallons Of Fun Dumped Into Creek

55 Thousand Gallons Of Fun Dumped Into Creek


Last week, public health officials offered up a warning to stay out of the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek after they found some fish dead there for unexplained reasons. Eventually, everything was cleared up, though, and we were allowed to swim again in the Schuylkill — although I’m not sure why we’d want to — although the Wissahickon remained closed.

That’s probably a good thing, then, since last night 55 thousand gallons of raw sewage was accidentally poured into the creek because of a power outage. Uh, what? The article says there was a power outage, then the backup generator failed, and somehow that led to raw (or partially-treated) sewage to go flyin’ into the ol’ creek.

But, it gets better: Lab tests discovered it was cyanide compounds that killed over 1,000 fish last week.

And the source is still unclear. At this point, I think a bath sounds pretty dangerous. (Although drinking water is said to be unharmed. Phew.)

New Warnings About Wissahickon Creek [6 ABC]
June 16: Officials: Stay Out Of The Schuylkill (Even Moreso This Time)

Officials: Stay Out Of The Schuylkill (Even Moreso This Time)

061606schuylkill.jpg Health officials have a warning for local swimmers, rowers and fishers: Stay the hell out of the Schuylkill.

One might think that, well, any Philadelphian knows the risks involved in swimming in the Schuylkill, but this is a little different. A number of fish were found dead near the Upper Gwynedd Township Wastewater Treatment Facility on Wissahickon Creek. The facility is near where the Wissahickon meets the Schuylkill.

The city’s managing director, Pedro Ramos, told NBC 10 that drinking water is safe, but I’m sure many of you will be drinking bottled water for a while. Me, I prefer the Schuylkill Punch. The extra toxicity makes it even tastier.

Warning: Stay Out Of Wissahickon, Schuylkill [NBC 10]

Quickies: Get off my lawn!

• The Inquirer goes all Hey, you kids, get off my lawn! Oh, and skateboarding is “antisocial behavior.” And newspapers wonder why nobody under the age of 21 reads. [Inky]

• Sorry, Ben: Franklin Field is too “narrow” to host Olympic track and field. That track has nine lanes. How much bigger could it be? [Bucks County Courier Times]

• Drugs in the water have turned male bass into female bass in the Potomac. See, that transgender teacher in South Jersey didn’t need to get a sex change operation — she just needed to go for a swim in the Schuylkill. [Inky]

Metro interviews an author with a big Internet following, and runs the following quote: “I was like, ‘Holy f-king sh-t!’” You know, if you’re going to censor his quote like that you might as just well run the fucking curse words. [Metro]