As part of its continuing efforts to help the Caribbean recover from the long-term impacts from hurricanes Irma and Maria, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it has awarded the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) $412,101 to support re-establishing the territory’s air pollution control and air monitoring programs.
“Since the implementation of the Clean Air Act in 1970, air quality has drastically improved and our U.S. Virgin Islands partners play a key role in reducing harmful air pollutants through our joint efforts,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “EPA’s funding will support the U.S. Virgin Islands in its efforts to recover from the hurricanes and meet national air quality standards to protect people’s health and the environment.”
$359,021 for Air Pollution Control Program Support
EPA provided DPNR with this funding as part of a performance partnership grant (PPG) to assist the U.S.V.I. in its efforts to implement air pollution control programs. These programs include:
1) Developing and implementing regulations for stationary sources of air pollution, such as factories, refineries, boilers and power plants;
2) Updating regulations for mobile sources of air pollution, such as cars, commercial trucks, aircrafts, marine vessels and heavy equipment;
3) Improving emissions data and modeling; and
4) Operating a monitoring network.
$53,080 for PM 2.5 Ambient Air Monitoring Network
This grant will help DPNR re-establish, operate and maintain an air monitoring network for very fine particulate pollution, PM2.5, which is less than 2.5 micrometers or about 1/30th the diameter of a human hair. PM 2.5 is the main cause of reduced visibility (haze) in parts of the U.S., including many national parks and wilderness areas.
PM exposures can cause harmful effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, including heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks and bronchitis. These effects can result in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and, in some cases, premature death. Children, older adults and those with breathing or heart problems are especially vulnerable to these effects.
EPA continues to work with states, local governments, tribes and citizens to further improve air quality for all Americans. EPA’s annual report titled “Our Nation’s Air” summarizes the nation’s air quality status and trends through 2018. 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/2019/
For more information about particulate pollution and PM 2.5, visit https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution.
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