Illinois EPA releases air quality report for 2005
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still show Illinois' air quality well within established standards
weather early in 2005 affects data for one pollutant
SPRINGFIELD -- Air quality in Illinois was either
good or moderate 90 percent of the time throughout Illinois in 2005,
according to the 35th Annual Air Quality Report, released by the
While this is a decrease from the air quality numbers in 2004, it is
consistent with the air quality trends the state has experienced in
the past. Air quality trends still show air pollution levels well
below the standards on a statewide basis.
In 2005, Illinois as
well as other Midwestern and Northeastern states experienced one of
the most unusual air quality episodes in recent history. For the
first time in Illinois, Air Pollution Action Days were called
outside of the ozone season, May through September, with three
action days being called in February due to elevated levels of fine
particulate matter (PM2.5). Scientists determined that a combination
of a stagnating regional air mass and combustion of winter fuels
region wide was the main cause of this incident.
This unusual episode provided the Illinois EPA with the
opportunity to thoroughly discuss fine particulate matter, which led
to additional public education about the causes and health concerns
of this pollutant.
"While annual trends show the statewide levels of pollutants well
below the federal standards, there are still some areas in Illinois
where improvement is still needed," said Illinois EPA Director Doug
Scott. "The Illinois EPA continues its commitment to improve air
quality throughout the state and the region."
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The Annual Air Quality Report consists of data collected from a
large network of air monitoring equipment throughout the State of
Illinois. The Illinois EPA operates and maintains more than 80 air
monitoring sites featuring over 200 instruments, which monitor for
numerous pollutants, including ozone, particulate matter, sulfur
dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead.
The monitoring network is strategically designed to identify air
pollution trends. The data collected are then used to keep the
public informed and to identify potential need for change in the
Agency's approach to air pollution regulation.
In 2006, the state of Illinois established itself as a national
leader in reducing harmful mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxide emissions from power plants. These deep reductions will help
improve the air quality and protect the health of the people of
Illinois for generations to come.
The 2005 Annual Air Quality Report is available on the Illinois
EPA web site at
www.epa.state.il.us. Printed copies can be requested from the
Illinois EPA's Bureau of Air at 217/782-9315.
copied from Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency news release received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information)