BALTIMORE, MD (May 1, 2013) -
The quality of the air across Maryland continues to show measurable signs of improvement, the Maryland Department of the Environment's review of preliminary monitoring results from 2012 shows.

The results show continued reductions in the amount of fine particle, or soot, pollution in counties throughout the State. Continued reductions were also seen in the amount of sulfur dioxide pollution and in mercury emissions from Maryland’s largest power plants. While Maryland has not yet met the federal health standard for ozone pollution, statistics show a decrease in recent years in the number of bad air days in comparison to hot weather days that can increase ozone levels.

The continued improvements come after actions taken in Maryland to reduce air pollution, including the Maryland Healthy Air Act, the toughest power plant emission law on the east coast. Because pollution from neighboring states contributes significantly to Maryland's air pollution, Maryland is taking actions to address this issue. Other measures that could lead to continued improvements in air quality include a proposal to lower vehicle emissions and lower the sulfur content of gasoline and a stricter national standard for mercury emissions from new power plants.

Reducing air pollution improves public health, and actions that reduce pollution can also help restore the Chesapeake Bay. Some programs reduce pollution by increasing fuel efficiency, which also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Governor Martin O’Malley has proclaimed April 29 – May 3 Air Quality Awareness Week in Maryland.