Health Department releases report on improved air quality in New York City to mark Earth Day

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Data from the largest urban air monitoring program of any US city shows that annual average levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) decreased by 43%, 39% and 56%, respectively, since 2009 .

In 2020, New York City and surrounding communities implemented measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, resulting in dramatic changes in air pollution in some neighborhoods and smaller changes in others. .

April 22, 2022 — The Department of Health today released the latest New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) Report, which shows continued improvements in air quality across the city. The report summarizes twelve years of data for the largest ongoing urban air monitoring program of any US city. It describes seasonal trends in air pollution levels from the winter of 2008-2009 to the fall of 2020 and highlights the sources that contribute to high levels of pollutants in New York City neighborhoods. Maps showing neighborhood air pollution levels by year are also available online.

“The health of our planet is a critical public health issue for New Yorkers,” said Health Commissioner, Dr Ashwin Vasan. “The choices we make as a global community to combat or perpetuate climate change play out in our city every day, with profoundly unequal impacts. And as a city, we can develop models for the nation to ensure we breathe cleaner air and initiate policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of slowing global warming. of our planet. We can all breathe easier when cities commit to fighting climate change and protecting the environment. It saves lives, now and in the future.

NYC Community Air Survey Results Before, During, and After NY PAUSE

  • During NY Pause, there was less traffic on bridges and tunnels, shorter travel times on major roads, and fewer small businesses open, especially in recreation and hospitality.
  • Activity discounts during New York break led to a 29% drop in NO2 and a 25% drop in PM2.5 from spring 2019 levels.
  • Declines in air pollution occurred primarily in Manhattan’s central business district south of 60th Street. Reductions were lower in neighborhoods with higher air rates pollution-related asthma emergency room visits.

NYC Community Air Survey Results 2009-2020

  • Annual average levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide decreased by 43%, 39% and 56%, respectively.
  • Average summer ozone levels have remained stable.
  • Elevated levels of fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide – pollutants that aggravate heart and respiratory disease – continue to be seen in areas with heavy traffic, construction and industrial areas.
  • PM2.5 emissions from buildings continued to decline, reflecting the impact of municipal fuel oil regulations. Meanwhile, emissions from commercial cooking – grills and grills in restaurants – now best explain differences in fine particle concentrations between neighborhoods. Recent updates to the city’s air code have created a framework to begin to collaboratively address this source of emissions.

More data on local air quality and other environmental health issues can be found in New York City Environment and Health Data Portal.

Annual average of fine particles in New York, 2009

Annual average of fine particles in New York, 2020

A graph showing a lower level of fine particles throughout NYC

About the New York City Community Air Survey

The Department of Health is conducting NYCCAS with Queens College of the City University of New York to assess air quality differences in New York City. Air pollution measurements are taken each season with monitors mounted at street level at approximately 100 locations in the five boroughs. Learn more about NYCCAS.

The Department of Health is prioritizing reducing emissions and improving air quality across the city.

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PRESS CONTACT: Patrick Gallahue / Michael Lanza,
[email protected]

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