You might guess that metro Bridgeport was one of the most polluted areas in the country, but New Haven too?
On Forbes’ list of the 20 dirtiest cities in America, Bridgeport comes in at No. 4 and New Haven isn’t far behind, at No. 7. The ranking, compiled with the help of demographic list kingpin Bert Sperling (of Bestplaces.net), focuses on air and water pollution from industry and vehicles.
California is far and away the dominant dirty destination, with the top two metro areas (Fresno and Bakersfield), six of the top nine and eight of 20, including San Jose (No. 8) and Los Angeles (No. 20).
New York escapes the Top 10 at No 11. Hartford is safely off the list, perhaps because aerospace is cleaner than automotive, oil and chemicals. Cleveland, the butt of jokes in the ’70s, has cleaned up its act all the way to No. 19, though some unemployed workers may wish the Cuyahoga River still had factories on its shores.
On Bridgeport: “Despite being in one of the nation’s richest states, much of Bridgeport remains blighted. For decades the Raymark Industries site manufactured car parts and asbestos and filled in wetlands by dumping toxic waste on them. The EPA has been removing lead, asbestos, arsenic and dioxins for 20 years.”
For the record, the Raymark/Raybestos Superund site is in neighboring Stratford, highlighting the fact that while Forbes claims to list the dirtiest “cities” in America, it’s actually looking at entire metro areas. So don’t breathe easy just because you live in the ‘burbs.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and other local leaders told FOX CT’s Ayana Harry that the ranking is focusing on the old, not the new. “I don’t think national business magazines ever walk the streets with me and to see what’s going on, so we don’t take it very seriously,” Finch said.
On New Haven: “The 850,000 residents of the New Haven-Milford metro area may enjoy having a top flight school in Yale University, but due to their location at the intersection of I-95 and I-91, their lungs pay the price.”
And what about Elizabeth, New Jersey? Don’t these people take the turnpike?