The American Lung Association (ALA) has released its annual State of the Air Report, revealing that Maryland’s air quality showed both improvements and setbacks. While the number of unhealthy ozone days for the state as a whole has dropped, the metro Washington-Baltimore area ranked as the 26th worst for ozone pollution among 227 metro areas in the country.

Nationally, more than one in three Americans live in counties that had unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution Credit: Adobe Stock

The report revealed that Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Harford counties received a failing grade for ozone. The metro area reported 6.7 unhealthy air quality days for ozone, which remained unchanged from the previous year. Ozone, also known as smog, is a harmful pollutant produced mainly by burning fossil fuels and has both short- and long-term health effects.

Aleks Casper, director of advocacy for the ALA, emphasized the need to focus on policies to improve air quality in the state. “While areas can show slight improvements, progress is not always guaranteed,” said Casper. “We really need to focus on policies to make sure that we’re doing the best we can to improve air quality.”

On the positive side, the report showed that ozone pollution improved nationwide, and the Lung Association attributed the improvement to the success of the Clean Air Act. To see air quality in your area, visit

The report also covered particle pollution, with the metro Washington-Baltimore area showing worse numbers this year. The metro area received a C grade for short-term particle pollution. However, Casper noted that the state has made recent moves to improve air quality.

“Maryland has made some great announcements in the last couple of weeks about looking at adopting Advanced Clean Cars II, which would cover passenger vehicles, and the bill that passed the Legislature around advanced clean trucks implementation, so looking at medium- to heavy-duty trucks,” said Casper.

In March, Governor Wes Moore announced that Maryland would join the multistate Advanced Clean Cars II rule. The rule requires manufacturers to continuously increase the percentage of electric vehicles sold in the state, reaching 100% of passenger cars and light trucks by 2035.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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