Smog problems off almost 50% in 2009
If you think thereâ€™s less smog this year, you are probably right.
Thanks in large part to cooler temperatures and more rain, the number of dirty-air days for smog nationwide has dropped by almost half in 2009 compared to last year, according to a survey by the non-profit Clean Air Watch.
The survey by Clean Air Watch volunteers is the first comprehensive snapshot of smog in the United States in 2009. It found that the national health standard for smog, technically ozone, was breached more than 2,600 times through August 31 at monitoring stations in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
During the same period last year, there were more than 5,000 such events, known in the jargon of the bureaucracy as "exceedences."
There were several key factors in the smog drop, according to Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch: cooler, wetter weather, less use of coal-burning electric power plants to run air conditioners, the general decline in the economy, and the continuing turnover of cars and trucks to new models that meet tougher clean-air requirements.
"Despite the improvement, we can't afford to drop our efforts to reduce smog-forming pollution," Oâ€™Donnell said. "We can't count on rain to wash the pollution away. Scientists warn that global warming could make it harder to achieve clean-air standards in the future. And, obviously, a sick economy is not the right cure for dirty air."