Illinois EPA Releases Air Quality Report for 2006
Shows Air Quality in Illinois Significantly Improved Over Previous
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[January 19, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency has released its 2006 annual Air
Quality Report, which shows that air quality throughout the state
has improved significantly since the 2005 report was released.
The 2006 report shows that air quality improved 7 percent, ranking
either good or moderate 97 percent of the time throughout Illinois.
In 2005, air quality was good or moderate 90 percent of the time. In
addition, air quality trends show air pollution well below the level
of the standards on a statewide basis.
"We continue to move
forward on our commitment to improve air quality throughout the
state," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. "The data we collect
provides valuable information for both affected citizens and for us
as we develop, implement and enforce regulations to control air
pollution and make the air in Illinois easier to breathe."
Between 1997 and 2006, air quality trends for pollutants with
established air quality standards continued to show downward or
stable trends that are well below the level of the standards. There
have been significant decreases in sulfur dioxide, 36 percent;
carbon monoxide, 32 percent; lead, 30 percent; ozone, 10 percent;
nitrogen dioxide, 6 percent; and particulate matter (PM10), 8
The report also shows that in 2006 there were no days when air
quality in any part of Illinois was considered "unhealthy." This is
an improvement from 2005 when two "unhealthy" days were measured.
Also, in 2006 there were only eight days when air quality in some
part of Illinois was considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups,"
compared with 32 such days in 2005.
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The Illinois EPA maintains a network of 80 air quality monitoring
sites, with more than 200 instruments throughout the state. 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.
The efficient data system ranks as one of the best in the nation,
with over 90 percent efficiency in the collection of high-quality
data. This high efficiency rate guarantees that the network is
providing Illinois EPA with a complete and accurate description of
air quality in Illinois.
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. In 2007, Gov. Blagojevich
announced a statewide goal to slash the production of heat-trapping
greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990
levels by 2050. The greenhouse gas goals are part of a long-term
strategy by the state to combat global climate change and build on
steps the state has already taken to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Combined, these deep reductions will help improve the air
quality and protect the health of the people of Illinois for
generations to come.
2006 Annual Air Quality Report is available at
Environmental Protection Agency news release
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]