“Each person can make a positive impact on improving Pennsylvania’s air quality,” Corbett said.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is asking Pennsylvanians to renew their commitment to protect air quality and learn how air quality can impact their health in honor of Air Quality Awareness Week.
“DEP’s environmental professionals are committed to studying and monitoring air quality in Pennsylvania,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “The data DEP receives assists the department in formulating sound policies and guidance as well as forecasting air quality so people can make informed decisions about their outdoor activities.”
As a result of air quality initiatives and measures aimed at reducing emissions, cumulative air contaminant emissions across the state have continued to decline since 2008. In particular, sulfur dioxide emissions from electric generating units have been reduced by approximately 73 percent. The emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter have also been reduced by approximately 23 percent and 46 percent, respectively, from this sector.
These reductions represent between $14 billion and $37 billion of annual public health benefit, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency methodologies.
“Air quality is improving here in Pennsylvania and we can all do our part to help preserve our environment for future generations,” Abruzzo said.
Throughout Air Quality Awareness Week, air quality partnerships across the state will hold events teaching the public how to stay safe on air quality action days and how to reduce air pollution. Each day of the week has a theme developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
On Monday, come up with a plan to reduce contribution to air pollution;
On Tuesday, learn about how air quality is important no matter what age;
On Wednesday, pay attention to air quality by learning about particle pollution and ozone;
On Thursday, check out the air quality index and use it before planning outdoor activities; and
On Friday, find out about the air quality before making a visit somewhere or taking a vacation.
Air Quality Awareness Week begins the ozone forecasting season in Pennsylvania for 2014. DEP makes air quality forecasts for fine particulate matter year-round and for ozone in the spring and summer months.
The forecasts, developed with local air quality partnerships, use a color-based air quality index. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents pollution levels that could trigger health effects for sensitive people, such as the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory ailments; and red warns of pollution levels that could trigger health effects for all members of the population.
These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership. In addition, DEP forecasts for ozone in eight areas: Altoona, Erie, Johnstown, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, State College and Williamsport cities and Mercer and Indiana counties.
To sign up to receive air quality forecasts via email, visit http://www.enviroflash.info.
For more information about air quality and to see Air Quality Awareness Week events being held by partnerships throughout the state, visit http://www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Air Quality Awareness Week” banner.
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