Interesting article, but it has its delusional aspects:
Rochester ranks 7th among clean cities - The Rochester area is one of the cleanest cities in the United States, according to a Readers Digest analysis of the 50 largest cities in the country. Rochester scored seventh cleanest, Buffalo was third, and Portland, Ore., won the top spot. Chicago was the dirtiest. Edward J. Doherty, Rochester's commissioner of environmental service, was pleased that the review looked at a variety of categories rather than focusing on just one that could provide a misleading picture. (June 23, 2005) Democrat & Chronicle
Although we have lived in Rochester almost thirty years now and expect to another thirty, because it is a great place to live, there are many serious concerns about how clean Rochester is. On the whole, as American cities, go Rochester, NY may well be one of the cleanest cities in the US. But, before we get too excited about the latest Reader's Digest study, we ought to stop and think. What does 'clean' mean? Looking at some of the facts, we have doubts about Rochester's cleanliness:
-1- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Rochester region is failing to meet new health standards for ground level ozone pollution.
-2- Rochester is No. 1 in the nation for releases of cancer-causing industrial chemicals, according to a new analysis of 13 years of data on such materials.
-3- "Finger Lakes/Ontario Plain"--including , Onondaga, Monroe, and Erie Counties and many of the neighbors - as the 11th Most Threatened Farming Region in the County
-4- Rochester ranks 12th in the nation: The Sprawl Index
-5-. 'Some studies have placed Rochester among the 10 U.S. cities with the worst lead problems.'
-6-. Local air gets an F for ozone Monroe and Wayne counties cited in Lung Association survey Almost half of U.S. residents live in areas with unhealthy amounts of ozone, the ground-hugging pollutant that contributes to respiratory disease. Monroe County was one of 18 New York counties to receive a grade of “F” -- worse than last year, when the county received a “D.”
-7-“Monroe County is among the top ten counties in the state (9th by gallons, 6th by pounds) for total amount of pesticides reported in 1998.”
-8- New York. Monroe County with a total population of 712, 419 has 9, 443 cases of padiatric asthma, 40,549 cases of adult asthma, 23, 1701 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 7, 721 cases of emphysema 8. The Genesee River gets the distinction of being #2 in this criteria: "Top polluters directly discharging cancer-causing chemicals to U.S. waters.
-9-. 89 spots in Monroe County that have been contaminated by methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive and potential carcinogen. To view maps of toxic sites, including MTBE contaminated areas, in towns throughout Monroe County
-10-. "In Monroe County, 48 contaminated sites are without funding, according to the DEC. (see front page for sources)
And if you actually read the Reader's Digest Study, it is a pretty scanty document and divulges no data: http://www.pdc.us/pdf/bus_serv/america-50cleanest-cities_7-05.pdf We have contacted Reader's Digest about how they conducted the study and what guidelines they used and will wait for their response. But in the meantime, we are all for a positive attitude towards a city we love and we wish dearly to see it prosper.
We've invested heavily in time and money to see that it does so. Disturbingly though, this article by the D&C and the Reader's Digest study only raises eyebrows, like finding your average student has been accepted into Harvard University. Something is odd. If Rochester is the 7th cleanest top city in the United States, then how are the rest of the top cities in American faring? By noting that we are near the top in cleanliness, should we let our guard down a moment and not get our air cleaned up, our brownfields cleaned, our water, and get the lead out of our old homes so I kids won't get poisoned? We hope not. We hope we will always feel good about our city and always take a cold hard look at our environment because our environment is our support system and when that goes awry, we'll get in trouble.