WILMINGTON — Wilmington is among Ohio cities with persistent air pollution problems, according to a report by the Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center.

Sam Gerard, a campaign organizer for the group, said that Wilmington had 58 unhealthy smog pollution air days in 2016 — 26 more than in 2015. The cause could be a variety of factors, according to him, including more “burning of things and heavy construction patterns.”

“The information paints a complicated picture of why places like Wilmington need these broad pollution protections on both a federal and state level in order to protect them from exacerbating conditions really suddenly,” said Gerard.

Both Washington Court House and Wilmington had three days where the levels of air pollution posed a heightened risk for sensitive groups like children, older adults and those with lung disease. The EPA recommends that these sensitive groups limit and avoid exposure to air pollution on days when the levels of pollution are high.

The report states there is no safe or healthy level of exposure to pollutants and even a single day of elevated air pollution represents an unacceptable threat to public health.

Gerard said that “people should start embracing the technology and means to create cleaner and safety for future generations.”

The citizen-based environmental advocacy project of Environment America, which researches environmental issues and educates the public about them, released the report in light of President Donald Trump’s attempts to roll back the Clean Power Plan and other similar programs.

The report contains new information about the levels of ozone smog and particulate soot pollution in 2015 and preliminary data for part of the country for 2016. The report also highlights how global warming increases the risk of air pollution problems by extending the smog season and increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires.

Environment Ohio, which also tackles the declining population of honey bees and promotes solar energy, is planning to deliver the report to both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Both Wilmington and Washington Court House were highlighted in the report, along with Lima, Marietta, Ashtabula, Steubenville, Springfield and Mount Vernon along with much larger cities of Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Youngstown, Canton/Massillon, Toledo and Akron.

This the first time the organization released this report. The information was compiled from the Environmental Protection Agency and NLAA in order to detail why public health in Ohio going downhill, according to the group.

The report may be viewed online at http://www.environmentohio.org/reports/ohe/our-health-risk .

Ashley Bunton of the Record-Herald contributed to the story.

By John Hamilton

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Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574