Indicators for this Category
From 2012 to 2014, annual Air Quality Index (AQI) data shows the Appleton metropolitan area as having good air quality 72% of the time, with moderate air quality 27% of the time. Unhealthy air days were registered 1% of the time in this three year period. The 265 good air quality days Appleton saw in 2014 compare favorably when put into context. San Francisco, which due to its proximity to the sea and prevailing winds location is deemed to have excellent air quality overall, registered 311 good air days in 2014 (85%)(1). Whereas the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area, known as among the most populated areas of the United States, registered just 25 good air days in 2014 (7%)(2). Contributing factors to Appleton’s high number of good air quality days may be the relatively low utilization of public transportation and proximity to Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan.
The percentage of the population exposed to health-related risks through contaminated drinking water is a consistently low figure, with the exception of an unusual spike in Winnebago between 2013 and 2014. Surface water contamination may be linked to the presence of blue-green algae, which results in high Phosphorus and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), the most commonly found water pollutants. A water quality advisory was issued by Winnebago Health Department regarding blue-green algae in Lake Winnebago in 2014(3).
Renewable energy currently accounts for around 6% of the energy generated in the Fox Cities area. The highest proportion of renewable energy generating power in the Fox Cities region is hydroelectric power, coming from hydroelectric plants in Outagamie and making up more than 80% of the total renewable energy sources in 2015. Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago all saw a slightly higher carbon footprint than the state and national averages in 2013. The two main areas of carbon consumption that are causing the three Fox Cities counties' average household carbon footprint to be higher are transportation and housing. The conservation of open space and the creation of public parks have lasting economic and health benefits for communities including reducing storm water management and drinking water costs, reducing air pollution, protecting habitats for wild animals, and promoting physical activity.