EPA Awards $85,774 Grant to New Mexico Environment Department for Air Quality Monitoring

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $85,774 to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) for their ambient air quality monitoring of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The funds will support NMED’s important work to improve air quality in New Mexico.

“Working with states to control particulate matter pollution is important for public health,” said Regional Administrator Anne Idsal. “These funds should continue to bolster efforts to enhance air quality in communities across the state of New Mexico.”

“The NMED utilizes these important grant funds to support the maintenance and operation of PM2.5 monitors throughout the state,” said NMED Air Quality Bureau Chief Elizabeth Bisbey-Kuehn. “We maintain multiple PM2.5 monitors across the state, which provides both critical information about this type of air pollution and assists in planning and demonstrating compliance with the ambient air standards. These monitors are a critical part of the overall monitoring network and are an important resource for providing real time information to the public during fire season in the western United States.”

The funds will help NMED carry out air-monitoring programs for the prevention and control of air pollution or implementation of PM2.5 air quality standards. The EPA will continue to work collaboratively with NMED and other stakeholders to develop strategies for achieving and maintaining compliance with PM2.5 standards.

Particulate matter, also called particle pollution, contains microscopic solids or liquids which may be harmful if inhaled. The particles can become lodged in the lungs, or can even get in your bloodstream, and cause respiratory or heart problems. People with heart or lung disease, children, and older adults are most likely to be affected by particle pollution. The particles also affect the environment, with the smallest—those less than 2.5 micrometers across also called “fine”—being the main cause of reduced visibility (haze).

Background: EPA’s most recent air trends report highlights that, between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times. A closer look at more recent progress shows that between 1990 and 2017, average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased significantly across our nation:

•      Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent

•      Lead (3-month average) ↓ 80 percent

•      Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent

•      Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent

•      Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent

•      Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent and

•      Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percent

EPA continues to work with states, local governments, tribes, and citizens – to further improve air quality across the country for all Americans.

The report includes interactive graphics that enable citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders to view and download detailed information by pollutant, geographic location, and year. Explore the report and download graphics and data here: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2018/

For more about EPA grants: https://www.epa.gov/grants.

For more about EPA’s work in New Mexico: https://www.epa.gov/nm.

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