2015 is a new year that brings with it continued challenges for Oklahoma’s environmental issues. Let’s see how Oklahoma fared throughout 2014 on green issues facing the state*.
Waste & Recycling
According to the 2014 American Litter Scorecard, Oklahoma was ranked 40 out of 50, or one of worst and dirtiest states. The scorecard is compiled once every three years. This is a slight improvement from the 2011 scorecard, which had Oklahoma ranked at #42.
The American Lung Association ranks the most polluted cities in the US according to three different criteria: by the number of high ozone days, by yearly pollution, and by short term (24 hour) pollution. Several cities in Oklahoma made the pollution list. The Tulsa, Muskogee, and Bartlesville area came in at 14 out of 25 cities for number of high ozone days. Oklahoma City and Shawnee came in at 19 out of 25. The overall ozone grade for both regions was F. On the bright side, Oklahoma/Shawnee and Tulsa/Muskogee/Bartlesville areas were both given a grade A for metropolitan areas with short term pollution.
According to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program), 18% of Oklahoma’s population has been exposed to contaminated water systems, as defined by the EPA.
Meanwhile, the drought situation in Oklahoma isn’t improving. 2015 will bring the state into its fifth year of drought across most of the state.
In 2014, the Humane Society ranked Oklahoma 30th on animal protection laws.
24 animals and 2 plants are listed as either endangered or threatened in Oklahoma by the US Fish and Wildlife Services.
Although Oklahoma is doing some great green things – like being 4th in wind energy, improving its litter ranking, and receiving an A in two cities for short term pollution – Oklahoma still has much green work to do in 2015.
*When available, comparisons were made with previous years and other states.
**This is the most recent data available.
Photo Credit- Okiefromokla