Follow by Email

Friday, October 25, 2013

R.I. and Mass. See Fewer Unhealthy Air Days

Good news from EcoRINews (and we love bringing you good news so you feel good about your work and commitment to the environment):  It looks as if the air is getting cleaner here in Southern New England.  We do not think this is an aberration.  We've done a lot of shows and stories on the progressive work done here in New England on reducing carbon--shutting down or changing coal-fired power plants to natural gas; investments in mass transient and pushing alternative methods of transportation; steady investments in solar and renewables; great efficiency programs for both houses and commercial buildings; and, realistically, less manufacturing, with plants having relocated to cheaper areas, and a recession that slowed down growth.

Can we continue to "breath easier" as Curt Spalding says in the story?  Yes.  Utility-scale clean energy systems are being installed in many cities and towns, cars are more efficient and emitting less, the states now have a base infrastructure to support electric vehicles, large fleets are reducing idling, using bio-fuels, adding solar systems, etc, and state and federal programs continue to help fund efficiency improvements.  All good news:

 By ecoRI News staff
Matching a long-term trend that air quality is improving, New Englanders experienced a decrease in the number of unhealthy air quality days this year, compared to 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The findings are based on preliminary data collected between April and Sept. 2013. The trend in unhealthful days during the past 30 years is substantially downward. The downward trend is due to reduction in the emissions that form ozone, according to the EPA.
The number of unhealthy ozone days in each New England state this past spring/summer, compared to last year:
Connecticut 17 days (27 in 2012)
Rhode Island 7 days (12)

Massachusetts 6 days (17)
Maine 5 days (4)

New Hampshire 3 days (4)

Vermont no days (0)
Although the number of unhealthy days may vary from year to year because of weather conditions, over the long-term, New England has experienced a decreasing number of unhealthy ozone days. In 1983, New England had 113 unhealthy days.
“We can all feel proud — and breathe easier — thanks to the exceptional progress we have made reducing ozone pollution over the past several decades,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “However, the poor air quality days we experienced this summer remind us that our efforts to protect the public’s health by improving air quality must continue. Everybody can save money and protect the environment by taking commonsense steps to conserve energy. By using energy-efficient lightbulbs, combining errands with our cars, and/or using public transit, we save energy, save money and cut down on air pollution.”
Ground-level ozone is the main ingredient of smog. Ozone levels are unhealthy when average concentrations exceed 0.075 parts per million over an eight-hour period.
Ground-level ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen chemically react in the presence of sunlight. Cars, trucks and motorcycles give off most of the pollution that makes smog. Fossil-fuel burning at electric power plants, which run at high capacities on hot days, emit substantial amounts of smog-making pollution. Gas stations, print shops, household products such as paints and cleaners, as well as gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment, also contribute to smog formation.
Although the 2013 ozone season is ending, pollution from small particles in the air is a year-round concern, according to the EPA.

No comments:

Post a Comment