Big Apple air the cleanest in decades
on 27/09/2013 08:07:38
Officials say the development has led to fewer deaths and hospital admissions.
"New York has the cleanest air now of any major American city," Mr Bloomberg told a news conference during a week of climate-related events.
He said the level of sulfur dioxide in the air had gone down by 69% since 2008 and the level of soot pollution by 23% since 2007. The data comes from the city's Community Air Survey, which measured street level air pollution at 150 locations from 2008 to 2010 and at 100 sites from 2010 to 2013.
Officials estimate the decrease in pollution has annually prevented 800 deaths and 2,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions in the city of eight million people. Sulphur dioxide worsens asthma, and soot pollution affects heart and lung disease.
Aside from smoking bans, "this better air quality prevents more deaths than any other change that's happened in New York City in the last decade", said Dr Thomas Farley, the city's health commissioner.
Officials said the fall in pollution came from a combination of factors, including buildings burning lower-pollution heating oils or switching over to cleaner burning natural gas. Mr Bloomberg said more of the city's pollution came from buildings and their fuel use, as opposed to vehicular pollution.