You’re Breathing Better Air

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Georgia’s air quality has improved significantly over the past decade, largely due to shuttered coal-fired plants and lower emissions in newer automobiles and construction equipment.

Emissions of ozone-forming sulfur dioxide (SO2) declined from more than 700,000 tons a year in 2005 to less than 100,000 tons in 2015, according to EPD records.

In the same 10 years, emissions of nitrous oxide and nitrous dioxide (NOX) have also come down sharply, though not as steeply as SO2.

NOX emissions rose to around 650,000 tons per year in 2007, but by 2014 and 2015 had dipped below 400,000, according to EPD’s monitoring data.

It’s good enough that the state Environmental Protection Division sent a request to the Environmental Protection Agency last September that seven counties (Paulding, Douglas, Coweta, Fayette, Cherokee, Forsyth, and Newton) be dropped from the Atlanta non-attainment zone — a change that could take place as soon as this fall. That would leave eight metro counties within the non-attainment zone, which means these areas still do not meet the National Ambiant Air Quality Standards set by federal law. The ozone standard is currently .70 ppm.

Breathe easy, Doughnut-area friends: It could always be worse.

Snark aside, it isn’t that bad in Atlanta, though it could be better — and is predicted to become so. One slightly frustrating point for the metro area is that the eight counties that will continue to exist in a non-attainment area are either meeting or close to meeting the standard that existed prior to 2015. Georgia’s Air Protection Branch of the EPD has a fact sheet about what the current lower standard means for us Average Joes available on their website.

Even with only eight counties failing to meet the current standards, this is a far cry from the 28 that were failing to meet a much looser standard 20 years ago.

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Lawton Sack
Lawton Sack

And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s going on?

Now, if we can figure out something about the pollen and the big controlled burns, us allergy sufferers could really celebrate.

Welcome, Holly to the crew! Go Jackets!!!

Ellynn
Ellynn

Now I have the 4 Non Blondes playing in my head…

Thanks Lawton.

Lawton Sack
Lawton Sack

You are very welcome.

And I say, hey yeah yeah, hey yeah yeah
I said hey, what’s going on?

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

This is great news. Cant wait to see the reports in another 15 years. Im betting air quality takes a huge nosedive.

Lawton Sack
Lawton Sack

I was scratching my head over this one. Something is working, so they are getting rid of it, but if something isn’t working, they keep doing it because they think it will work eventually. I am pro-business, but you got to draw a line when it comes to protecting water, air, and soil.

Ginny
Ginny

Welcome to the nut house!

About that “breathing better.” BTW, today’s pollen count was 2924.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Thank goodness Georgia air pollution due to coal-fired power generation won’t be coming back despite Trump crowing otherwise.