Los Angeles
Credit: Daniel Stein via Getty Images

La La Land had us all singing “City of Stars” about Los Angeles, but it might be more accurate if the song was entitled, “City of Smog.” We say that because the American Lung Association measured the cities with the most air pollution as part of its State of the Air report for 2017. The American Lung Association calculates pollution in cities three different ways and no matter how it was measured, California had the most number of polluted cities in each of the three top 10 lists.

The three criteria for judging the most polluted cities are: By ozone, by year-round particle pollution, and by short-term particle pollution.

California had more than five cities in each of the air pollution categories, which is not good news for the Golden State.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach area was the worst-rated city for ozone, fifth in year-round, and ninth in short-term pollution. However, that doesn’t stop it from being the second-most populated city in all of the United States.

With six of the 10 worst cities in short-term particle pollution, seven of the 10 worst cities in ozone, and eight of the 10 worst cities in year-round particle pollution, it’s not just Los Angeles that has serious air pollution problems though.

Bakersfield, California, was ranked the worst city for short-term particle pollution and number two for both year-round and ozone.

The Fresno-Madera, Modesto-Merced, and Visalia-Porterville-Hanford areas are not much better as they are all in the top 10 (or should we say bottom 10?) in each of the three categories.

But before you get too distressed, the American Lung Association does provide what needs to be done to improve air quality, so there are things that can be done — although a lot of it relies on the leaders in our government supporting the efforts of organizations like the EPA, which fights air pollution.

Because even if you don’t live in California, we should unite to make our world a better place to breathe, so that every generation can enjoy a city of stars.