HARRISBURG, Pa., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today issued a proclamation recognizing April 28 through May 2, 2014, as Air Quality Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. This year marks the 9th anniversary of the first Air Quality Awareness Week, which celebrates the importance of clean air and learning about air quality.
"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 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 www.dep.state.pa.us and click the "Air Quality Awareness Week" banner.
Media contact: Lisa Kasianowitz, 717-787-1323
Editor's Note: The text of the proclamation is attached below.
AIR QUALITY AWARENESS WEEK
April 28 to May 2, 2014
WHEREAS, Air is important for breathing and essential for the survival of human beings, animals and plants; and
WHEREAS, the well-being of our environment, as well as our health, comfort and standard of living, depends upon air quality; and
WHEREAS, two of the most common air pollutants are ozone and particle pollution which can be harmful to the health of Pennsylvanians; and
WHEREAS, we are all stewards of air quality upon which future generations depend; and
WHEREAS, dedicated environmental professionals study, monitor and assess daily air quality in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, the Air Quality Index is a tool to inform the public of elevated air quality levels and its impact to one's health; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection is striving to protect our air quality and to provide for the health and safety of Pennsylvania's citizens through a cleaner environment.
THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim April 28 to May 2, 2014, as Air Quality Awareness Week in Pennsylvania and encourage all Pennsylvanians to learn how their daily habits influence air quality and how they can further protect air quality in Pennsylvania.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection