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How Green is Your City?

Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 | 8:51 AM ET
AP

Happy Earth Day everyone! On this day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation of the environment, we decided to give you a feel for how green (or not) your neighborhood might be.

There has been a lot of progress since the first Earth Day in 1970. Communities around the country are spending billions of dollars in green projects. Companies like Disney , with its release of Earth today, are building awareness while automakers like GM , Ford and Toyota have been advancing greener cars. Others are working to reduce their carbon footprint (See the Greenest Companies on the S&P here). However, according to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory database, manufacturers disposed of or released over 4 billion pounds of waste in 2007. The EPA's Envirofacts Data Warehouse further provides details on the number of facilities per geography releasing waste broken out as follows:

  • Air - Facilities that produce and release air pollutants
  • Toxics - Facilities that have reported toxic releases
  • Waste - Facilities that have reported hazardous waste activities
  • Water - Facilities issued permits to discharged to waters in the US

Here are how the 15 biggest metropolitan areas in the US (per 2008 US census estimates) stack up when it comes to toxic output.

#15 Seattle
Metro Area Population: 3.3 million
City Population: 0.6 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 3,377 (1 for every 170 residents)
Air - 53
Toxics - 109
Waste - 3,026
Water - 189

#14 Riverside-San Bernardino
Metro Area Population: 4.1 million
City Population: 2.1 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 575 (1 for every 3600 residents)
Air - 17
Toxics - 40
Waste - 506
Water - 12

#13 San Francisco
Metro Area Population: 4.3 million
City Population: 0.7 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 1,175 (1 for every 630 residents)
Air - 41
Toxics - 28
Waste - 1,097
Water - 9

#12 Phoenix
Metro Area Population: 4.3 million
City Population: 1.5 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 3,185 (1 for every 475 residents)
Air - 198
Toxics - 230
Waste - 2,728
Water - 29

#11 Detroit
Metro Area Population: 4.4 million
City Population: 0.9 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 3,638 (1 for every 240 residents)
Air - 260
Toxics - 148
Waste - 3,188
Water - 42

#10 Boston
Metro Area Population: 4.5 million
City Population: 0.6 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 1,857 (1 for every 320 residents)
Air - 653
Toxics - 50
Waste - 1,079
Water - 75

#9 Washington, DC
Metro Area Population: 5.4 million
City Population: 0.6 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 1,576 (1 for every 370 residents)
Air - 334
Toxics - 14
Waste - 1,121
Water - 107

#8 Atlanta
Metro Area Population: 5.4 million
City Population: 0.4 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 2,200 (1 for every 195 residents)
Air - 334
Toxics - 14
Waste - 1,121
Water - 107

#7 Miami
Metro Area Population: 5.4 million
City Population: 0.4 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 3,515 (1 for every 115 residents)
Air - 300
Toxics - 81
Waste - 2,622
Water - 512

#6 Houston
Metro Area Population: 5.1 million
City Population: 2.1 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 6,413 (1 for every 335 residents)
Air - 475
Toxics - 413
Waste - 4,804
Water - 721

#5 Philadelphia
Metro Area Population: 5.8 million
City Population: 1.4 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 3,014 (1 for every 480 residents)
Air - 469
Toxics - 146
Waste - 2,278
Water - 121

#4 Dallas-Fort Worth
Metro Area Population: 6.3 million
City Population: 1.2 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 2,715 (1 for every 455 residents)
Air - 314
Toxics - 214
Waste - 2,074
Water - 113

#3 Chicago
Metro Area Population: 9.6 million
City Population: 2.8 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 9,968 (1 for every 285 residents)
Air - 2,636
Toxics - 481
Waste - 6,643
Water - 208

#2 Los Angeles
Metro Area Population: 12.9 million
City Population: 3.8 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 3,985 (1 for every 965 residents)
Air - 92
Toxics - 264
Waste - 3,615
Water - 14

#1 New York City
Metro Area Population: 19.0 million
City Population: 8.2 million
Total Facilities Producing and/or Releasing Pollution: 7,170 (1 for every 1145 residents)
Air - 1,600
Toxics - 14
Waste - 5,537
Water - 19

Comments? Send them to bythenumbers@cnbc.com

bythenumbers.cnbc.com

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