Clean Air Month Highlights Florida’s Top Air Quality

TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognizes May as Clean Air Month with a proclamation by Governor Rick Scott and reminds residents and visitors that Florida’s air is among the nation’s cleanest. In fact, all areas of Florida attain the federal air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate matter.

Emissions of key industrial pollutants contributing to the formation of ozone and fine particulate matter continue to decline in Florida, a trend that has existed for years.  Over the past decade, power plant emissions of two of these pollutants, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, decreased 83 percent.

Ground level ozone, commonly referred to as smog, is formed by a chemical reaction between emissions of volatile organic compounds, emissions of nitrogen oxides and sunlight.  Particulate matter is a mixture of very small particles found in the air. Both can be a health hazard.

The Department’s Spatial Air Quality System allows web users to access updated air quality data as reported by its statewide network of air quality monitors. Additional information about Florida’s air quality is available through the Department’s Division of Air Resource Management website.

“Clean Air Month reminds us that we all play a role in ensuring that Florida’s air quality remains among the best in the country and is enjoyable for both residents and visitors,” said Brian Accardo, Director of the Division of Air Resource Management. “Hard work by local and state air program professionals, increased compliance by businesses, and smart personal decisions all contribute to the protection of our valuable resource.”

According to the 2013 State of the Air report from the American Lung Association, Florida experienced zero unhealthy days for ozone pollution during the three-year study period. In addition, the Association ranked four Florida cities among the 16 cleanest nationwide for both year-round and short-term particle pollution.

Peak levels of ozone and fine particles typically occur in May because of the relationship of hot and dry weather conditions and emissions from vehicles and power plants. So, it is important for individuals to consider how to minimize air emissions:

  • Use public transportation
  • Conserve electricity
  • Use energy efficient products
  • Maintain heating and air conditioning units
  • Maintain your vehicle

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