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Sign up with DEC Delivers in the box to the right to receive Air Mail! - the monthly air quality newsletter that includes public participation news and other air program issues in New York State.

Sources and Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution damages health and the environment in a variety of ways. Hot summer weather sets the stage for the formation of ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), two major pollutants of concern for human health. Fish and wildlife show harmful effects from acid rain and mercury in air. Greenhouse gases (chiefly carbon dioxide) in the air are changing the world's climate.

Air pollutants originate from many human activities. Most pollutants come from:

  • on- and off-road vehicles and power equipment,
  • power plants that burn oil, gas or coal, and
  • industries that manufacture chemicals and other goods.

Other routine activities, such as mowing the lawn, burning brush, heating with wood, and running errands in automobiles also create air pollution. Everyone can help significantly reduce pollution by following tips on Living the Green Life.

New York State's Air Pollution Control Program

For over 50 years, federal and state air pollution programs have included permits and technical requirements to control emission of criteria pollutants and toxic air contaminants from facilities, along with extensive measurement and monitoring of ambient pollutant levels. Another key element of the State's air pollution control program is the Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program, which checks vehicle emissions and requires repairs to failed pollution control equipment.

Federal law requires DEC to submit State Implementation Plans (SIPs) that demonstrate how state air pollution control programs bring areas where air contaminant levels exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (leaves DEC website) into attainment.

Public Participation Information

All New York State residents are environmental stakeholders - we welcome anyone to join the information sessions and other opportunities posted here. For additional information, contact us via email or phone at 518-402-8401.

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