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Houston Matters

Despite Recent Chemical Fires, Houston’s Air Quality Continues To Improve

Dan Cohan from Rice University explains the overall trend of improvement in Greater Houston’s air.

A smoke plume from the ITC facility in Deer Park, on March 18, 2019. The fire caused a massive smoke cloud that could be seen for miles.
Florian Martin/Houston Public Media
Smoke from the fire at the ITC facility in Pasadena.


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Despite the somewhat intimidating sight of black smoke rising from the ITC and KMCO facilities in recent weeks, Houston's air quality is still significantly cleaner than it used to be. That’s according to Dan Cohan. He’s a professor at Rice University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

In the audio above, he explains to Houston Matters guest host Ernie Manouse how those incidences did not affect general air quality in Greater Houston and if the trend of improvement will continue.