The Maryland Department of the Environment recently released a report stating that Maryland’s air quality has drastically improved and the air pollution level is the lowest it has been in at least three decades.
According to The Washington Post,
Maryland’s air quality has improved drastically in recent years and is on track to meet strict new federal standards, according to a report this week from the state’s Department of the Environment.
State officials say pollution controls such as vehicle emissions requirements and billions of dollars worth of investments by utilities in new power-plant technology have helped Maryland reduce air pollution to its lowest level in at least three decades.
“The strong partnerships and steady investments for clean air are paying off and positioning us to meet air-quality standards across the state for the first time ever,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
Measurements during the past year show that Maryland met the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 standard for fine-particle air pollutants, such as the soot that smokestacks generate. The federal guideline, which Maryland has achieved statewide, calls for no more than 12 micrograms per cubic meter
Maryland has also met the EPA’s 2008 ground-level ozone standards in nearly every region of the state, including in the Baltimore metropolitan area, which traditionally has some of the state’s highest emissions levels.
Environmental experts say ozone in Earth’s lower atmosphere can be harmful to the respiratory system and potentially diminish lung function, while ozone in the upper atmosphere is beneficial, helping filter out damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
The EPA’s 2008 ozone standards call for no more than 75 parts per billion at ground level, but states are preparing for a new EPA rule that drops the level to 70 parts per billion. Maryland expects to meet that target sometime between 2020 and 2025, according to the Department of the Environment.
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