Environment
3:07 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Poll: Louisvillians More Concerned About Air Quality Than Other Kentuckians Are

A new poll shows that Louisville residents are more concerned about air quality than those living in other areas of the state.

In a poll conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in October, nearly three-quarters of the Louisville residents surveyed said they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the local air quality. Those numbers were much lower—between 40.3 percent and 48.7 percent—for residents in other regions of the state.

Louisville Air Pollution Control District spokesman Tom Nord said that’s a good news/bad news situation. “The good news is that people in Louisville care about the air in ways that people in other parts of the state don’t,” he said. “But at the same time, that’s partially because they’re confronted with it every day in the summer.”

The poll also showed that those concerns about air quality have an effect on behavior. About 62 percent of the Louisville residents polled reported changing their behavior on air quality days (though the survey didn’t ask whether that meant limiting activities because of health concerns, or refraining from mowing lawns and driving, as the Air Pollution Control District recommends).

The survey also showed that these concerns about air quality have translated into greater awareness about the sources of air pollution in Louisville. More than a quarter of respondents in the Louisville area reported turning off their car engines within a minute when the car wasn’t moving. Another quarter turned off the engine within two to three minutes.

“In a very short time, it seems like we have reached a great level of awareness of why you should shut off your car when you’re idling,” Nord said.

The air quality data was part of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s annual health issues poll. Foundation president Susan Zepeda says air quality isn’t a priority for the organization this year, but she hopes other groups and municipalities will use the data to form policies.

Here are the general poll results; click here for the Louisville-specific data.