New Yorkers can breathe easy: Our air is becoming less polluted


Until now, New Yorkers could only dream that the quality of our air matches the quality of our water. Thankfully, a new study from the city’s health department indicates that the dream is becoming a reality, and Gothamites can breathe a bit more easily.

According to the New York City Community Air Survey, the city’s air has less harmful chemicals in it than in past decades. Samples taken from around the city from 2008-2014 show decreased levels of many air pollutants due to actions taken to reduce harmful emissions. Sulfur dioxide levels, for instance, dropped 68 percent, and nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide levels are down 24 and 21 percent, respectively.

Lest city inhabitants gets too excited, however, there are still perils to be wary of. Despite the progress, concentrations of many airborne pollutants remain at levels that could be particularly damaging to seniors, children and those with pre-existing health conditions. The highest concentrations of harmful materials are found in SoBro and Manhattan, and tend to be in areas with higher traffic and building density, areas with residual oil burners and industrial zones.