Air Mail: News About NY Air Quality - June

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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This Month's Topics:

  • National Pollinators Week
  • Green Your Commute Day Results
  • Upcoming Events
  • Comment Periods
  • AQI Alerts for Respiratory Health

BEE Sure to do Your Part for National Pollinators Week

Bee and milkweed flowerThe Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation announced new actions to protect New York's pollinator population. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are critical to both the state's environment and agricultural economy, providing approximately $344 million worth of pollination services to New York each year. The State commemorated these steps during National Pollinator Week (PDF) (June 18-24) with a proclamation issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, affirming New York's commitment to promoting the health and recovery of pollinators.

Mother Nature depends on bees and other insects to pollinate plants, including many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables that we eat. A study by Penn State found that bees may have a harder time locating plants when ground-level ozone levels are moderate to high. This is because ozone breaks down the scent molecules released by flowers that attract pollinators. Typically, bees can locate a flower in about 10 minutes when ozone levels are low. When researchers ran computer simulations to see how air pollution could impact bee foraging, they found that higher levels of ozone increased the time it takes bees to locate flowers to as much as three hours. 

Many of the food sources we take for granted depend on bees and other insects. Without pollinators, the variety and quantity of food crops and other plants will likely decline. Do your part during National Pollinators Week to decrease ozone-causing air pollution and protect pollinators. To learn more about how to protect pollinators, visit DEC's website.

Contributing Editors: NYSDEC, Division of Materials Management, Bureau of Pest Management; Cornell University, Department of Entomology, Honey Bee Extension
Photo credit: Natalie Sacco, NYSDEC, Division of Fish and Wildlife

Cleaner Air, One Commute at a Time

May 18 was Green Your Commute Day in New York State, and thousands of us acted to improve our air quality by utilizing a more sustainable form of transportation to get to work. Whether walking, biking, taking mass transit, carpooling, or driving an electric vehicle, our actions helped decrease the emission of harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter and compounds that contribute to ground-level ozone, from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. These pollutants negatively impact the health of our communities and lead to increases in asthma rates and other respiratory ailments. This year over 2,350 State employees greened their commutes, which offset more than 22 tons of carbon.

Events like Green Your Commute Day show all of us how easy, fun, and convenient it can be to make a difference for the health of our communities. You can find more resources on how to green your commute on DEC's website.

Green Your Communte Day 2018

Photo Caption: DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos joins other Central Office Albany Green Commuters to pose for a photo on Green Your Commute Day 2018. Thumbs up to everyone who participated this year!

Upcoming Events

Backyard camping

  • June 18 – 24: National Pollinators Week
  • June 23: Great American Backyard Campout. Gather your family and friends, pitch a tent in the backyard, and enjoy the outdoors! At your campout, always remember to build a safe and healthy fire by following these tips.



Comment Periods

  • Proposed revisions to the CO2 Performance Standards for Major Electric Generating Facilities available for public review until July 29, 2018.
  • Proposed regulations for allocating Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) trading program allowances for NOx ozone season (Part 243), NOx annual (Part 244), and SO2 annual (Part 245) emissions available for public review until July 29, 2018.
  • 2018 Tentative Specifications for agency sustainability and green procurement available for public review until October 1, 2018.

Stay Informed about Your Air Quality

New York's ozone season runs from April through September. DEC publishes ground-level ozone forecasts during ozone season, and particulate matter pollution forecasts year-round using a scale called the Air Quality Index (AQI). DEC sends out an air quality alert when there is a high AQI value, which indicates polluted air. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, and people who exercise outdoors should take caution during an air quality alert. Find out if an Air Quality Alert is in effect by calling the toll-free Ozone Hotline: 1-800-535-1345.

The AQI can be accessed in three ways:

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