The Breathe Project

The Breathe Project

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Breathe Project, one of the most important environmental health initiatives ever undertaken by the Endowments, which was created to move the Pittsburgh region’s air quality from the ranks of the worst in the nation to the ranks of the best.

Since the inception of the Environment Program, one of its highest priorities has been to help southwestern Pennsylvania recover from a legacy of industrial pollution issues. We are convinced that clean air, clean water and well-protected ecosystems are essential to future quality-of-life improvements. This is especially true for the region's economy.

After a detailed assessment of the results of our air pollution-remediation work, we determined that some progress has been made, but not nearly enough to take our region out of the danger zone for emissions levels that can jeopardize the health of people and the natural environment. We are alarmed by fresh scientific research we commissioned that shows southwestern Pennsylvania is still saddled with dangerous pollutants -- among the worst in the country. We lag behind other regions in measurable improvement for several indicators. The latest research tells us that at least one-third to one-half, on average, of the region's particulate pollution problem is from local sources. The good news from this finding is that we in the region have the power to make our air much cleaner.

Our commitment is now clear: We will work to ensure that the region's residents have access to the best information available on the air pollution problem, and we will pursue plans at the regional level to dramatically improve air quality. To accomplish this, we launched the Breathe Project and are partnering with committed environmental groups and leaders from many sectors, including government, academic-medical research institutions, and most important, industry.

To find out more, go to the Breathe Project website, which has information on air pollution issues in the region as well as air clean-up advocates’ activities and upcoming government, business and health-sector policy decisions. There also is a volunteer action page that will offer tips on what you can do as an individual in your daily life to reduce air pollution. If you want to get involved in group efforts to push for a solution, there are links to organizations that would be grateful for your support. We need your help to convey the message that there is no more important quality-of-life measure than the purity of the air we breathe.

Teresa Heinz, chairman, The Heinz Endowments

 
 
 
© 2017 The Heinz Endowments