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The Dirtiest City in the United States Isn't New York

Photo-LawnStarter

A recent study by LawnStarter challenges common perceptions about the cleanliness of American cities, revealing surprising findings about urban hygiene. While bustling metropolises like New York often bear the brunt of stereotypes regarding grime and pollution, the study identifies Houston, Texas, as the dirtiest city in the United States. Contrary to its reputation, New York ranks relatively low, coming in at 12th place on the list.

LawnStarter's comprehensive ranking takes into account various factors contributing to cleanliness, including air quality, infrastructure conditions, pest issues, and resident satisfaction. Houston's dubious distinction as the dirtiest city stems from its particularly poor air quality, deteriorating infrastructure, and a widespread infestation of cockroaches, which the study identifies as the worst in the nation. Data from PestGnome, a sister site of LawnStarter, further underscores the severity of Houston's cockroach problem.

The presence of cockroaches isn't unique to Houston, as other cities like San Antonio and Tampa also contend with high levels of infestation, ranking among the top three "cockroach capitals" in the country. Conversely, cities plagued by rodent infestations include Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, which top the list in this category.

In California, despite significant efforts and investments in cleaning initiatives, several cities struggle with cleanliness issues. San Bernardino, often referred to as California's "armpit," ranks as the fourth dirtiest city due to its poor air quality. The situation exacerbates in Riverside and Ontario, where pollution from warehouses has led to further environmental degradation. However, amidst these challenges, San Francisco stands out as a relatively clean city, thanks to substantial investments in street cleaning programs.

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The study also highlights concerns beyond air quality, such as water safety. Most major cities in the southwest, with the exception of Salt Lake City, violated the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2020, raising alarm about the quality of drinking water. Las Vegas, despite ranking 19th overall in terms of cleanliness, faces significant challenges with unsafe water.

Additionally, the study uncovers unique littering trends, such as Ohio's prevalence of cigarette butt litter, attributable to a high number of smokers despite local anti-smoking campaigns. Interestingly, coastal cities generally fare better in terms of cleanliness, with Virginia Beach topping the list as the "most pristine" city. However, cleanliness isn't solely determined by proximity to water, as inland cities like Fremont, California, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, also rank highly.

Overall, LawnStarter's study provides a nuanced understanding of cleanliness in the United States, emphasizing that urban hygiene is influenced by a multitude of factors beyond just big-city grime. From air quality to pest control to drinking water safety, the cleanliness of American cities varies significantly across the nation, highlighting the complexity of maintaining cleanliness in urban environments.

May 29, 2024 10:55 a.m. 412

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