The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently published their recent report on asthma related health concerns to help raise awareness about the nationwide impacts of asthma. According to their report, the City of Springfield has seen significant improvements. Springfield was previously listed in 2019 as the worst metropolitan area to live with asthma. According to their 2021 report, Springfield now ranks outside of the top ten being listed at number 12, thanks to recent improvements across the city to help reduce asthma related health indicators. These improvements included recent enhancements at our public buildings and schools to help improve with energy efficiency, the planting of city trees across all of our neighborhoods, and utilizing low- to no-emission vehicles – just to name a few. Together, these improvements helped to reduce our municipalities carbon footprint.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “This is welcomed news toward our continued efforts to knock down our asthma rates for our children and families, but there’s more work to do. I know firsthand with my youngest daughter Chiara’s bouts with asthma. Special thanks goes out to Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and Parks, Buildings, and Facility Director Patrick Sullivan, who have done yeoman work in tackling this challenge. My administration has invested millions of dollars to improve the physical plant of our schools, city buildings, and public health outreach initiatives.”
PBRM Director Sullivan stated, "The City of Springfield has taken strategic action to combat the high asthma rates across our city. In our school buildings, we have invested over $30 million in HVAC systems, instituted green cleaning programs and schedule regular cleaning and maintenance to uninvents systems with our PM Techs. This work has resulted in removing asthma triggers within our school buildings. The energy improvements (resulting in reduction of fuels required to heat or cool our building) have been tremendous in that we are removing 13,309,968 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, 13,546 lbs. of nitrogen oxide from the atmosphere, and 20,765 lbs. of sulfur dioxide from the atmosphere. Overall we have reduced our energy consumption by 28%. These are key components in improving the overall health of our city and the planet. I commend Mayor Sarno for making this a priority for his administration and so proud that our city has seen this dramatic improvement in the reduction of our asthma rates. There is more work to be done and the staff of the Parks and Facilities teams are proud to do their part. Last, I want to acknowledge our Forester, Alex Sherman, he has taken the steps to increase our tree planting across the city. The Mayor has funded $100,000 this year to Indian Orchard tree plantings with CDBG funding and the Governor has funded Springfield with over $1.7 million in funding for the Greening the Gateway Cities. The planting of trees will continue to be an important step to improve the overall air quality of our city. The DPBRM is also working in a collaborative effort with US Forest Service and Health Department in securing grants in the implementation of this vital work for our citizens. “
According to the report, Pollen is a major asthma concern in the Greater Springfield area and may be contributing to the city’s high rates of quick-relief medicine use.