Air Quality

Description of the Indicator
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measurement used to assess nationwide air quality, based on the following five pollutants: ground-level ozone (smog), particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Having no AQI score means the air was perfectly healthy for a given day. A score from 0 to 50 is considered “good”; a score 51-100 is considered “moderate”; a score from 101-150 is considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (such as asthmatics, those 65 and older and those with heart and lung disease); a score ranging from 151-200 is considered “unhealthy for everyone”; a score from 201-300 is considered “very unhealthy”; and anything above 301 is considered “hazardous for everyone.” The data below details the air quality data for Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. Also mentioned is the number of unhealthy days in each county.

Why is it important?
This indicator provides awareness into the quality of air people breathe, and potential health risks associated with pollution.

How is the region doing?
As of 2023, there were no monitoring stations in Wayne County. Over the past several years, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties have reported no unhealthy AQI days, but as of 2023, Lackawanna County reported four unhealthy days and the data for Luzerne County was unavailable. The 2023 median AQI for Lackawanna County was 39, and it was 37 for Luzerne County in 2022. This represents a slight decline in quality for both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. They have remained in the ‘Good’ range for all years analyzed, however. AQI has improved by about 11 percent in Lackawanna County from 2000 to 2023, while Luzerne County has improved by about 18 percent from 2000 to 2022.