Smog Season 2010: Mid-Season Report

Hold your breath, Georgia. We are officially at the midpoint of smog season, and here is where things stand with respect to the air we breathe:

1. To date, there have been about 15 instances across Georgia -- in some cases, multiple areas on the same day -- when concentrations of ground-level ozone reached unhealthy levels. Here is a trend comparison to show past years' violations (for all areas monitored in Georgia) from May 1 through July 15:

Year

Combined Violations

2006

34

2007

22

2008

33

2009

13

2010

15

As you can see, the trend is generally moving in the direction we want.

2. On July 7, metro Atlanta witnessed its first Code Red smog day since 2008, a signal that there is still much work to be done. A heat wave, combined with stagnant air and too many tailpipes out on the roads, proved too much for the region to bear.

3. While it is impossible to predict what's in store for the second half of smog season, what we do know is that the standards by which our air quality is measured - standards created by the US Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health - are slated to become more strict at the end of August. Why? Because the more we learn about the effects of long-term exposure to air pollution, the greater the sense of urgency becomes to protect ourselves.

The Clean Air Campaign is following the developments surrounding new air quality standards and we'll have more details very soon on what's changing, what impact the changes will have across Georgia and what you can do. In the meantime, stay cool and let's hope for a quiet second half to smog season.




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