City's air quality shows huge improvement
If you've noticed fewer people coughing in the streets, you're not alone.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's health department revealed Thursday that the Big Apple's air quality is at its cleanest levels in more than 50 years. Levels of sulfur dioxide, which can cause asthma, have dropped by 69% since 2007, and soot pollution has dropped by 23% during the same time, according to the mayor.
As a result, New York moved up in the ranks. "In just three years, we bested three cities in air quality," Bloomberg said.
The secret behind the pollution reduction, according to the mayor and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, was a strong effort to have buildings upgrade their furnaces to environmentally-friendly technology. Under the NYC Clean Heat Program, landlords of 2,700 buildings have converted their properties since 2011.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said hundreds of building owners are following suit, and the city was fortunate enough to get the cooperation of buildings that were located in highly polluted areas such as the Bronx and midtown.
"There's no resistance," he said of the "clean heat" program. "We were working with a priority."
Bloomberg said his administration will continue to work on more ways to improve health, including advocating an update to the city's air code, which hasn't been revised in 38 years.