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8 cities where cleanliness rules

Santa Fe, cleanest cities, St. Francis Cathedral Basilica

Photo: Chris Corrie/Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau

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Santa Fe, N.M.

A clean city is part of the culture in Santa Fe, N.M., where several art festivals feature works made solely with recycled materials and trash. The city also holds volunteer trash pickup days, and many of the buildings in the main tourist areas, including the famous Santa Fe Plaza, are kept pristine as part of the aggressive historic preservation efforts that have helped this city retain its timeless appearance.

Santa Fe also was recognized in 2012 by the American Lung Association for having the best air quality in terms of both ozone and particle pollution. This is thanks to the city's location and its rules. There are no major manufacturing zones within 200 miles of Santa Fe, and New Mexico has some of the nation's strictest emissions laws.