Spotlight On: The City of Brentwood

As the Clean Air Partnership continues to spotlight local municipalities utilizing innovative approaches to create cleaner, greener environments for constituents, this month we’re pleased to recognize the City of Brentwood for its commitment to sustainability that shapes city operations and future planning.

Having proudly returned to participate in the 2021 Green Cities Challenge for a second year, the City of Brentwood’s new Sustainability Commission – which is led by five residents and two elected officials – began working on a new city-wide Sustainability Plan. With each city department continuing to set goals and objectives related to sustainability, the city strives to keep learning and incorporating green practices into the range of operational requirements unique to its local government.

Among the city’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge included the installation of four free public electric vehicle chargers, a bike repair station and new bike hoop, the launch of a new city-wide composting program, four residential paper shredding events and electronics recycling drives, and the planting of 89 trees to help rebuild urban forests. Another highlight was a Grow Solar Power Hour virtual program to increase education of solar technology and its investment potential with neighbors, local business owners and community leaders. To further reduce environmental impact, the City of Brentwood offered environmental education opportunities for youth and adults in their Parks & Recreation brochures and educated residents about recycling and other sustainable practices through various social media channels, newsletters and their website.

Additionally, the city adopted stormwater management requirements for all new and infill residential development and completed an ADA-compliant trail that includes use of porous and flexible Rubberway, partially composed of recycled rubber tires. With an eye on continued progress and building a bright future for its citizens, work is also underway on Brentwood Bound – the major flood mitigation project that will restore floodplain, add trails and greenspaces, and link multiple parks in a highly visible location. Also, during the 2021 Challenge, the City of Brentwood received a $300,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Resources’ Division of Environmental Quality, Soil and Water Conservation Program for design and construction of an extended wetland pond north of the confluence of Deer Creek and Black Creek. The funds will also grant Brentwood the opportunity to enhance the design of the confluence point to aid in flood mitigation and confer significant water quality benefits, which will in turn positively benefit air quality, too!

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Brentwood and how your organization or municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership’s website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spotlight On: COCA

As a national leader in innovative arts education, the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) provides meaningful arts experiences in its studios, gallery and theatres, as well as in schools, community centers, and corporate settings around St. Louis. Serving more than 50,000 people annually of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels – from enthusiastic amateurs to emerging professionals – COCA uses the power of the arts and education to build a vibrant St. Louis that is creative, connected and inclusive. 

A returning participant in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, COCA earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for their dedication to implementing environmentally friendly measures into everyday operational practices. With an ongoing commitment to caring for the environment in which they do their work, COCA’s Green Team has done a great job celebrating what the company is already doing right and identifying opportunities to grow their sustainability initiatives in creative ways. 

During the 2021 Challenge, COCA replenished its stock of reusable water bottles to promote the use of the facility’s water bottle filling stations, which have helped eliminate an impressive 60,724 disposable plastic water bottles to date. To further conserve energy and resources, COCA participated in Ameren Missouri’s BizSavers program for energy efficiency improvements to save $7,705 in incentives, as well as phased out the purchasing of fluorescent light bulbs in its historic Kuehner Wing, so that all facility lighting fixtures are now equipped to handle air quality-friendly, LED energy efficient bulbs. 

Other noteworthy innovations that helped COCA earn recognition in the Challenge include the promotion of sustainability through Youth Arts Education by integrating green themes into a portion of their summer camp programs. These included gardening themes where young participants explored gardens through art, stories and planting, in addition to upcycle camps where students pushed the boundaries of creativity through the repurposing of books, clothing and various other items. Moreover, during COCA’s annual Cleanup Day, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” themes were heavily promoted to help reduce harmful emissions resulting from the amount of waste that winds up in landfills. 

Last but certainly not least, COCA staff continued to operate in a hybrid work environment last year, where employees were able to work remotely as needed to cut back on commuting and travel times, which also positively benefits the region’s air quality! 

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to recognize the efforts of organizations like COCA that continue to do their share for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability. For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore,  like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. 

St. Louisans Encouraged to Take Action for Cleaner Air Based on Latest “State of the Air” Results

The recently released American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of the Air” report reveals that, despite decades of progress on cleaning up sources of air pollution, more than 40% of Americans – over 137 million people – are living in places with failing grades for unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. This is 2.1 million more people breathing unhealthy air compared to the years covered by the 2021 report (2017-2019), which reinforces the need to protect our local communities from the continued risks to public health resulting from high levels of ozone and particle pollution.

For the sixth consecutive year, the St. Louis region escaped being ranked among the top 25 most ozone-polluted cities in the U.S., coming in at number 37 on the list. While this is 11 spots back from last year, the area did rank 24th on the list for most polluted cities by year-round particle pollution. Even this, however, is an improvement from 2021, where St. Louis landed in a four-way tie for the 20th spot on the list. The “State of the Air” report findings also have added to the evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health, with the three years included in this year’s report (2018-2020) ranking among the seven hottest years on record globally. Spikes in particle pollution and high ozone days related to extreme heat and other factors are putting millions more people at risk and adding challenges to the work that states and cities are doing nationwide to clean up air pollution.

It’s long been reported that transportation-related emissions are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, and that is the catalyst for a new “Don’t Pollute. Switch Up Your Commute.” campaign launched earlier this month by more than half a dozen partners, who collectively provide an array of transportation options that extend beyond driving in single-occupancy vehicles along with resources and incentives for doing so. The summerlong effort aims to inform people the way they choose to travel impacts the quality of air St. Louis area residents breathe, while motivating them to modify commuting behaviors as often as they are able. Area residents can visit to download the color-coded air quality forecast, which provides daily updates via email or text stating if the forecast for the following day is a GREEN (good), YELLOW (moderate), ORANGE (unhealthy for sensitive groups) or RED (unhealthy) air quality day. From there, individuals are being encouraged to show they care about clean air by taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking or telecommuting. The site provides detailed information about all transportation options available on both sides of the Mississippi River – and links to associated schedules, pricing, programs, ride matching services, incentives and more.

“Research shows that exposure to traffic-related pollution is a serious health hazard for everyone, but especially for populations most at risk, such as children and older adults, people of color, people experiencing poverty and individuals with underlying health conditions,” Fuchs added. “Although any community can experience days with unhealthy levels of air pollution – regardless of their grade or ranking in the ‘State of the Air’ report – this takes on additional significance for the close to 19.8 million individuals living in counties that received an “F” grade for all three air pollution measures.”

Additional air quality information and other tips to help clear the air can be accessed by visiting the Clean Air Partnership’s website at, liking the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook, or by following the organization on Twitter @gatewaycleanair. To access the American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of the Air” report, visit