We’re Number One!!!

Pittsburgh is forever garnering awards for its livability and sports teams (Go Pens!), etc.  And I’m always forced to comment on such things, not because my ego is somehow tied into events and places where I’m merely a smidge of smog on a pin-head, but because it’s newsworthy.

So, with my obligation to report PIttsburgh happenings, I must proclaim, with regret, our latest position at number one:


Yes, that’s right, surpassing

2. Los Angeles

3. Fresno

4. Bakersfield

5. Birmingham

6. Logan, Utah

7. Salt Lake City

8. Detroit

9. Baltimore

10. Eugene

We are the sootiest city. Doesn’t sound as intimidating as the Steel City, though.

How is this possible? We’ve cleaned up our closets and our act, yet the residue of steel mills past, still linger? well, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Guillermo Cole, an Allegheny County Health Department spokesman, says the ranking is given us for no other reason than Clairton. "But, it’s a localized issue and the problem area is very small."

He says actually, that "Liberty-Clairton is a unique situation. We have a large source, the coke works, sitting in a river valley, so it’s a real challenge. There’s no other area of the US like that."

You know, the solution is really very simple. Simply oust that section of the Mon Valley from the Pittsburgh Metro Area. Yeah, I know there’s the whole factual aspect standing opposed to doing something of that nature–just pretending an entire geographic area isn’t attached to another, but hey this is Pittsburgh. We can pretend with the best of them, right?

Or, we could do the reverse and tout that area as one of the last places in America to actually produce something…Any press is good press…there are so many good ways to view this.  I can’t stand it.

The thing that really has me thinking is that two places in Utah and one in Oregon are listed. What could they possibly do in those areas be so sooty?

5 thoughts on “We’re Number One!!!

  1. Interesting, Kathie! We tumble from one of The Most Livable Cities to the Sootiest in just a few years. I think these ranking people need to get real jobs!

  2. As for those Utah cities, they are both surrounded by a ring of mountains. Unless there is a storm, all the pollution just hangs around. (Though, I’m not sure why Logan would be sootier than Salt Lake…it’s smaller and less dense.)

    When we drive into SLC you can literally see yourself entering a grey green cloud. It’s all the cars. Public transportation is sort of a joke and walking places is unheard of.

    There was a steel mill in Utah county, 20 miles or so from SLC. My Dad worked thirty years there. People were fond of saying that it was the cause of all the soot and pollution but they can’t use that excuse now. They tore it down two years ago and the air is dirtier than ever.

  3. Hey Judy, that livable city designation was given just months ago, actually! Becky, I see how the mountains could be problematic, holding in all the smoke. I guess we’ll all just have to manage in our sooty suits and just live happy with all the dirt…that or move, but where? Every place has its drawbacks. No matter what, Pittsburgh is cleaner than it’s ever been…

  4. I wondered about that when I saw the story the other day. “I thought Pittsburgh is getting cleaner,” I thought to myself. These details make more sense.

    My Grandfather worked in the steel mills his whole life, by the way. I wonder what type of job he’d work now if he were just moving to the area, instead of years ago?

  5. Hey Struggling writer…thanks so much for stopping by. I can’t even imagine–though I’ve seen photos and heard relatives discuss the steel mill sooth– how different things were then. Mid-day street lamps lit, changing your clothes three times a day, heaving cleaning twice a week. Sounds like a life NOT for a housewife like me. It’s a wonder anyone lived past forty back then.

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