Air quality on the decline in Tampa despite nationwide improvements

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Tampa skyline with Beer Can Building
Downtown Tampa, Florida. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (Sept. 2011).

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Overall air quality in the nation has improved. However,  it’s actually gotten worse in Tampa.

According to a study by Consumer Affairs, Tampa ranks number 10 in the U.S. for the largest air quality decline over the past 10 years.

Cassidy McCants is a deputy editor at Consumer Affairs.

“We’ve seen a lot of air quality improvement over the years, but there are some metros that, for various reasons, have actually seen a decline in air quality over the last 20 or so years.”

The study used air quality index data from the EPA to rank cities. Jacksonville was the Florida city that saw the biggest decline over the past decade.

As for causes? McCants said there’s many.

“There are port cities that have a lot of shipping to and from that seems to be a factor. I think one of the biggest ones though is just the use of fossil fuels and all the driving we’re doing.”

The City of Tampa released a Climate Action and Equity Plan last month with the hope of reducing the city’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The American Lung Association’s senior director of advocacy for Florida told Axios Tampa that other factors, like increased heat and storms, could be what’s causing Tampa Bay’s low air quality.

 

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