Just about anywhere you go in the world, you can find litter scattered on the ground.

Whether you're in the middle of the desert, on a stranded island, or walking down your neighborhood street, it's a sad fact that people throw garbage to pollute the earth. According to Iowa Publications, an estimated 190 million pieces of litter are along the 114,000 miles of Iowa roadways.

Each year, LawnStarter releases its list of the dirtiest cities in America right after the winter holiday season, which is considered one of the 'trashiest' times of the year. Instead of focusing on the negative, why don't we look at some of the positives here in Iowa?

Which Cities in Iowa are considered the cleanest?

Unsplash - Nareeta Martin
Unsplash - Nareeta Martin

Cleanest Cities in Iowa

The good news for Iowa is that according to Lawn Starters' dirtiest cities list, Des Moines is considered one of the cleanest cities in America. It's actually ranked in the top 5 of the nation's cleanest cities. In Lawn Starters' study, they only used 152 of the biggest cities in America. Des Moines is the only city big enough in Iowa to be included on the list.

What about Iowa's cities that aren't big enough to fit the criteria? In a 2022 'State of the Air' report from the American Lung Association, Iowa's rankings were mixed for some of the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution.

The Good News


The good news is that 6 cities/counties in Iowa were named some of the cleanest cities in America regarding particle pollution and ozone.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls all were ranked as some of the cleanest when it comes to particle pollution. Clinton County and Montgomery County ranked as some of the cleanest areas regarding ozone.

The Bad News

Kristina Hamilton is the Advocacy Director for the Lung Association and in 2022, she said Polk and Scott Counties had some work to do.

"The levels of ozone and particle pollution seen in Polk and Scott counties can harm the health of all of our residents, but particularly at risk are children older adults, pregnant people, and those living with chronic disease. Both ozone and particle pollution can have serious health side effects."

If you choose to litter or pollute the air, just remember you're not only causing harm to yourself, you're also causing harm to everyone around you. Throw your garbage away and recycle items that belong in the recycling bin.

Now that we know which cities in Iowa are some of the cleanest to live in, which counties in the Hawkeye State are the best to retire in!?

LOOK: Best counties to retire to in Iowa

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in Iowa using data from Niche.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Iowa's Most Popular Baby Names of 2023

In 2023, Iowans were searching up the perfect name for their newest additions to the family. Based off of Google Trends data, officials were able to determine the most popular names in the Hawkeye State.

Gallery Credit: Kerri Mac

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