This Is What Our Major U.S. Cities Would Look Like if We Had Never Adopted the Clean Air Act Back in 1965

by Emma Thieme Oct 17, 2016

The Clean Air Act was established in 1963, serving as the first major environmental law in the United States. Today, more than 40 years later, it remains one of the best air quality laws in the world. Air pollution continues to be a huge global issue, however, and 3 million deaths occur annually because of it.  Last December, Matador’s Matt Hershberger wrote about the air quality in Bejing being so bad, that residents were willing to spend as much as $168 on a Ziploc bag of Canadian air, bought off Ebay.

According to data the World Health Organization released back in May, 98 percent of cities in low and middle-income countries with more than 100,000 residents do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. Several of the top ten most polluted cities in the world are in China and India. When Save on Energy created the below photos, they used Xingtai as a model, China’s most polluted city, and one that has been all but abandoned due to its horrific air quality.

Thanks to the Clean Air Act, Americans are pretty lucky when it comes to air quality — at least for right now — but places like Grand Canyon National Park are already warning about encroaching air pollution from the coal plants upwind. These photos should serve as a reminder that our country, and global community, need to continue to push environmentally-minded legislation, relentlessy, into the future.

1. Chicago, Illinois

2. Dallas, Texas

3. Houston, Texas

4. Los Angeles, California

5. New York, New York

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7. Phoenix, Arizona

8. San Antonio, Texas

9. San Jose, California

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