Feb 7, 2024
WASHINGTON - Today, a significant milestone in our nation's journey toward cleaner air has been reached, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveils its final standards, bolstering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to specifically address fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5), commonly known as soot. These strengthened standards, reducing the annual air quality benchmarks from the current 12 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) to a more rigorous 9 μg/m3, are poised to prevent a projected 4,500 premature deaths, mitigate 2,000 emergency room visits, and salvage 290,000 lost workdays annually by the year 2032.
In response to this announcement, Irene Burga, the Director of the GreenLatinos Climate Justice and Clean Air Program, issued the following statement:
"Today, we celebrate a significant victory in our ongoing efforts to improve air quality and protect public health, especially within the Latine community. The implementation of these final EPA standards on soot promises tangible improvements in the well-being of our communities, particularly among those most vulnerable. However, we acknowledge that there is still more work ahead. Nationwide, Latine children disproportionately bear the burden of asthma, a condition exacerbated by exposure to PM2.5. Despite our collective strides, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to environmental justice. While we did not achieve the more ambitious standard of 8 μg/m3 that environmental justice organizations advocated for, this standard represents a crucial step forward. We look forward to continued collaboration with the EPA and the Biden Administration to ensure robust enforcement of the annual standard, as we remain dedicated to advancing proposals for the 24-hour standard."
GreenLatinos (NOTE: GreenLatinos is ONE WORD) is an active comunidad of Latino/a/e leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.