About the Campaign

Welcome to the Center for the Environment’s
Campaign for Clean Air website

 American Lung Association State of the Air 2010

The Campaign was launched in the fall of 2009 to educate citizens in Rowan and Cabarrus counties and the surrounding region, and to empower them to take action to address the air quality issues we face.

In 2003, the American Lung Association ranked Rowan County as the 16th worst ozone-polluted county in the United States. That led the Center for the Environment to launch its first air quality initiative. The Center redoubled its efforts to mitigate ozone pollution in 2009 with the current Campaign for Clean Air. (What is ozone?)

“This is a situation that impacts the health of every citizen in the county,” says Dr. John Wear, director of the Center for the Environment, “The health of the local economy and the overall quality of life that residents enjoy are also negatively affected.”

While our air has improved over the past two years, we still have a long way to go. Despite the improvement, American Lung Association’s 2010 State of the Air Report ranked Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury as the 10th worst ozone-polluted city in the United States. Six contiguous counties – Rowan, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Gaston, Union and part of Iredell – have persistently failed to meet EPA air quality standards.


Why should you care?

Child with asthma at the doctor

Children may suffer lifetime effects if they are exposed to air pollution over significant periods of time. They have narrower airways than adults, so their airways can be obstructed more easily. They are also subject to frequent respiratory infections caused by ozone, and these infections can stunt the growth of their lungs so that they have sub-normal lung function later in life. Read more about the health effects of air pollution…

While health problems related to ground-level ozone are significant, they clearly aren’t our only worries. Air pollution in Rowan can have a negative effect on our economy. The non-attainment status conferred on Rowan by the EPA (our air has repeatedly failed to meet standards for air pollution) could impair our ability to attract new industry or to encourage expansion of industries that are already here. It will also mean the loss of federal funds to build roads. Read more about economic impacts of air pollution…


What are we doing?

A multi-year grant received from the Department of Transportation has made the following efforts possible and will allow the Center to expand these efforts over the next few years through additional public outreach programs.

Included in the Campaign efforts to date are:

  • Campaign for Clean Air 2010 Spring NewsletterLaunch of this website and the Salisbury Post microsite, dedicated to air issues;
  • Creation of a Campaign for Clean Air newsletter;
  • Clean Air Lecture Series
  • Involvement in a leadership role with numerous community groups
  • Organization of outreach events
  • Meetings with local government officials and industry groups
  • Public education about alternative fuels and modes of transportation
  • Development of model programs (e.g. no-idling) that can be used by other communities


What can you do?


Attend events.

Use alternative transportation.

Make small changes in your daily habits.

Apply for grants and rebates to become more energy efficient.