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BBC Pop Up: Pittsburgh citizens seek cleaner air

The rolling hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have been home to America's steel industry for more than 150 years. But residents have struggled with increased levels of air pollution from regional plants for nearly the same amount of time.

"Just decades ago, even white-collar workers would have to bring two shirts to work because after they'd come back to the office from lunch, they'd be covered in dirt just from the air," says Ted Popovich of Allegheny County Clean Air Now.

In recent years, the city has seen a vast improvement in air quality due to reductions in emissions and measures plants have taken to curb fine particles.

But some still argue air quality is a problem, citing high asthma and cancer rates in the region. Some activists have even taken aim at Shenango Inc, a local plant purchased in 2008 by energy giant DTE.

DTE declined BBC Pop Up's request for an interview but issued a statement saying steps the company had taken in recent years have helped to curb emissions.

BBC Pop Up's Matt Danzico spoke to local residents and local government officials about air quality. He lived in the region during the month of November as part of the BBC's Pop Up Bureau.

You can find out all about the aims of the Pop Up project and see all the videos from the first three months here. Check out Pop Up's behind-the-scenes blog to see how to get involved.

  • 30 Dec 2014
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