Green Business Bureau Blog


Do you live in one of the cleanest cities in the US?


One simply cannot expect the city lover to move to the country in search of clean air and water. The deer and the antelope may not play in the city but for goodness sake there is more to life than blue skies, lush green meadows and the crisp clean air of the countryside. Ask a dedicated city lover like myself and you will realize that we would rather change jobs and move to a different city (of course we would grumble at every cent spent on moving) than hobnob with cattle. That said, no one but the dedicated inner city lover will be blind to dirty air and questionable water. This brings us to controversial and fought-over listings of America’s cleanest and dirtiest cities.

A recent study of fifty large metropolitan cities in the United States used the following criteria to come up with a reasonable and impartial list. Let us start with the top ten clean town mouse havens in the country. Brace yourself. Did you expect Florida to top the list? Surprise.

1.    Portland (Oregon)
2.    San Jose (California)
3.    Buffalo (New York)
4.    Columbus(Ohio)
5.    San Francisco(California)
6.    Denver(Colorado)
7.    Rochester (New York)
8.    Austin (Texas)
9.    Orlando(Florida)
10.    San Diego(California)

What is striking about this list is that California features thrice.

Portland has the cleanest air and the purest water. Austin does make the list but surprisingly has one of the worst scores for purity of water. Orlando fares disastrously on the hazardous waste count. So a word of caution is in order. Do not take the rankings (neither these nor similar others) at face value. If you are going to use these listings as guidelines, then delve deeper my friend. Analyze every bit of data you can lay your hands on.
Now, getting to the big, bad and the dirty.

This is a list of the bottom ten dirtiest cities in the United States, starting with the dirtiest.

1.    Chicago (Illinois)
2.    New York(New York)
3.    Pittsburgh(Pennsylvania)
4.    St. Louis(Missouri)
5.    Birmingham(Alabama)
6.    Kansas City (Missouri)
7.    Philadelphia(Pennsylvania)
8.    Boston(Massachusetts)
9.    Los Angeles(California)
10.  Houston (Texas)

If the study results are to be believed, one should neither breathe nor drink water in Chicago, unless the air is canned and the water comes out of a sealed bottle. Disheartening! And New York City has more hazardous waste than five of the cleanest put together.

However, all is not lost. The cities got dirty due to man’s greed, unethical practices and essentially a lack of concern. With the advent of green businesses, the future seems less bleak and there is hope for all cities, even Chicago. Time, dear reader, will tell.


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