US develops plan to tackle ozone pollution

The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published new guidance to help authorities that are failing to meet new pollution-reducing standards.

The move comes as part of a US-wide effort to improve air quality and reduce ground-level ozone, a major contributor to smog that also damages crops and other vegetation.

The new rules and guidance give advice on how to develop plans to reduce ozone pollution in areas that do not meet required standards.

"This rule signifies EPA's commitment to working with communities to develop cost effective plans," the EPA's acting assistant administrator for air and radiation Bill Wehrum said.

"As our ozone rule and other clean air rules take effect, Americans will be able to work, exercise and play in cleaner, healthier air."

The Phase 2 Ozone Implementation Rule outlines emissions control and planning requirements for states to address as they develop their plans showing how they will reduce ozone pollution to meet the eight-hour ozone standard.

A recent EPA analysis of the benefits of meeting the eight-hour ozone standards found that moving from 2000-2002 monitored ozone levels to full attainment of the eight-hour standard would yield substantial health benefits.

This analysis indicates that attaining the eight-hour ozone standard would each year avoid hundreds of premature deaths, thousands of hospital admissions, hundreds of asthma emergency room visits, more than one million restricted activity days, and more than 900,000 school absences.

The Phase 2 Rule requires states to demonstrate that non-attainment areas will attain the eight-hour standard as expeditiously as practicable.

As traffic is a major is the biggest single source of ground-level ozone the rules also require certain areas that are missing their targets to use only cleaner-burning reformulated petrol.

By Sam Bond



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