Camden County Air Quality Committee Launches in Response to 2024 State of the Air Report

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(Camden, NJ) – To address the ongoing issue of air quality in the region, experts and community advocates have launched the Camden County Air Quality Committee. The committee was assembled with the goal of providing guidance to the Camden County Board of Commissioners, municipal, and regional partners to improve the health of residents and visitors by reducing levels of contaminants.

“There are a lot of factors that contribute to poor air quality. Some of them are going to be harder to address and will require working closely with our regional partners.” said Camden County Commissioner Jeffrey Nash. “That said, there are actions that we can take here in Camden County, including education, electrification, monitoring, and thinking outside the box when it comes to addressing issues like food waste.”    

Recently, the American Lung Association released the 2024 State of the Air report measuring air quality and the impact that air pollution has on public health. The report is a three-year rolling average from 2020 to 2022, so the report does not include data from 2023. According to the report, Camden County improved from a D to a C for ground level ozone, which is a type of pollutant that can cause respiratory problems and other issues to young children, the elderly and those with asthma. However, the daily measure for fine particulate pollution, a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe, has dropped from an A to a B. According to the American Lung Association, particle pollution is associated with increased mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and lung cancer. 

“As we see in our most recent ‘State of the Air’ report, climate change is making air pollution more likely to form and more difficult to clean up,” said Michael Seilback, assistant vice president of Nationwide Advocacy for the American Lung Association. “In New Jersey, there are actions we can and must take to improve air quality, including building electrification and reducing air pollution from the transportation and power sector. We appreciate our partners at the Camden County Air Quality Committee and their focus on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,”

The committee is focused on working with municipalities, schools, hospitals, businesses, state agencies, and regional partners across the following pillars:

  • Fleet electrification and charging infrastructure
  • Solid waste operations
  • Regional engagement
  • Green space
  • Indoor air quality
  • Finance and funding mechanisms

“Improving and enhancing our air quality is paramount to protect and strengthen the health and welfare of our community,” said Camden County Commissioner Jonathan Young. “That said, we know that this is a significant challenge based on a number of variables that are at work and are outlined by the ALA report. Nevertheless, we have a moral obligation to create a roadmap that we can use to resolve and remedy antiquated practices of the past that will deliver direct benefits to our residents.”

“I am honored to serve on Camden County’s Air Quality Committee,” Assemblyman Bill Moen said. “This is a group of leaders and stakeholders who are committed to working together to find solutions that will help to improve not only our air quality, but in turn, will help to better the lives and health of residents in Camden County and the tri-state area for generations to come. This collective effort will require innovative solutions and this team is ready to rise to the challenge.” 

“Attaining our health based National Ambient Air Quality Standards and mitigating climate change requires a holistic and collaborative approach to emissions reduction,” said Peg Hanna, director of the Division of Climate Change Mitigation and Monitoring for New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “Through the work of the Camden County Air Quality Committee, along with a variety of in state and out of state efforts, we’re making progress on a healthier NJ as shown by the latest American Lung Association report.

“Poor air quality across South Jersey and Camden County is a silent killer and triggers tens of thousands of asthma attacks for residents suffering from respiratory ailments,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “Our air quality is worse in our more urban inner suburbs and Camden City, especially because of the prevalence of highways and the smog pollution triggered by our cars and trucks. The Camden County Air Quality Committee provides a hyper-local and state partnership alliance, especially with a focus on electrifying our cars, trucks, and buses to finally clean up our air to benefit our lungs and the climate.”

“The Camden County Air Quality Committee is doing the necessary work to tackle and improve Air Quality in this region of the state,” said Renee Pollard, co-chair of Tri-County Sustainability Environmental Justice. “Working and collaborating with partnering agencies, our hope is to improve Air Quality and enhance better health outcomes while continuing to improve our annual grades reported by the American Lung Association.”

“I am excited to serve as a community member on the Camden County Air Quality Committee. This committee’s diverse focus areas, from eliminating food waste to improving outdoor air quality, underscore its commitment to improving environmental health and sustainability in Camden County and Camden City,” said Ben Saracco of Camden for Clean Air. “I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts to make a positive impact on air quality and environmental well-being in our communities.”

“Air pollution can be both a local and larger regional issue,” said Sean Greene, manager of the Office of Freight and Clean Transportation for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. “DVRPC is pleased to join the Camden County Air Quality Committee (CCAQC) to help bring partners together to improve air quality in the communities in Camden County and beyond.”

“One in five premature deaths every year are caused by fossil fuel pollution. In NJ, more than 17,600 deaths annually are directly linked to air pollution based on research from Harvard School of Public Health and Camden County routinely gets failing grades for our air quality,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cerceo, director of Climate Health at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. “The Camden County Air Quality Committee (CCAQ) is dedicated to improving those numbers and the health of our communities.”


The full State of the Air Report is available here.