Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports air quality and emissions data for 2006 shows continued improvement in the nation's air quality over the long term. Emissions of six key pollutants, namely: nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO) and lead (Pb) have been reduced by more than half since 1970 and the national average concentration for each criteria pollutant is below the level of its air quality standard.
EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson was so proud in saying that the trends are good and the nation's air continues to improve because of the Bush Administration's innovative clean air policies. He further stated that tackling tailpipes and smokestacks, EPA is continuously clearing the air, and all Americans are breathing easier and cleaner air.
While emissions of six key "criteria" pollutants and the compounds that form them continue to decline, the United States has continued to grow and prosper, not just in terms of its economy but also health wise. Total emissions of the six key pollutants dropped 54 percent between 1970 and 2006. During the same time period, the US gross domestic product increased 203 percent, vehicle miles increased 177 percent, energy consumption was increased by 49 percent, and US population grew by 46 percent. In addition to this good news, emissions of air toxins in 2002 were 35 percent lower than 1990 levels.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA sets national air quality standards for six key pollutants. Each year, EPA examines the levels of these pollutants in the air and the emissions from various sources such as factories and auto mobiles to see how both have changed over time and to summarize the current status of air quality. While national average concentrations of the six key pollutants are below national standards, results vary by site. Annual pollution levels at some monitoring sites do remain above one or more of the national air quality standards. However, it was found out that zone and particulate matter remaining as the most persistent problems.
Volkswagen, one of the auto makers which are very much concerned to the environment, has installed refin VW air filters to participate in the country's campaign for clean air.
With the theme "Keep an Eye on the AQI," Air Quality Awareness week is celebrated on April 30-May 4. This year's theme is to remind Americans to check daily air quality forecasts to help plan their activities.
Meanwhile, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) addresses power plant emissions in 29 eastern states plus the District of Columbia. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in these states by over 70 percent and NOx emissions by over 60 percent from the 2003 emission levels.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA establishes air quality standards to protect public health including sensitive populations such as people with asthma, children and older adults. EPA's aim is also to set limits to protect public welfare – including ecosystems, visibility, buildings and crops.
At the same time while the US is trying to clean the air, most Americans think they are shrinking at the gas pump and say that will cut back on their summer travel plans and general spending if fuel prices continue to climb to $ 3.50 a gallon or even higher. That was according to a major new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) think tank and its 40MPG.org project. The organization's survey results will be released early this week on a live, phone-based news conference with full question and answer portion. News event speakers will be Civil Society Institute President and 40MPG.org founder Pam Solo; 40MPG.org spokesperson Ailis Aaron Wolf; and Opinion Research Corporation Senior Research Associate Graham Hueber.
The survey will show that most Americans expect gasoline to reach $ 3.50 a gallon this summer. It will also show that they want action from Washington now on significantly increased federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and other vehicles. Another key finding is that with gasoline prices rising steadily so far in 2007, an increasing number of Americans are inclining to buy hybrids or other highly fuel-efficient vehicles.