WBEZ | clean air http://www.wbez.org/tags/clean-air Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en New flag program to promote air quality in the Chicago area http://www.wbez.org/news/new-flag-program-promote-air-quality-chicago-area-106911 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90211484&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7223_IMG_1509-scr.jpg" style="height: 240px; width: 375px; float: left;" title="Kids from the Chicago Academy for Global Citizenship hold the color-coded flags to indicate air quality (IEPA)." />An airplane pulled out of Midway and over the Chicago Academy for Global Citizenship while a group of kids raised a yellow flag Tuesday to signify that the air is moderately clean, but not perfect. The flag-raising signaled the launch of a program created by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and Illinois Partners for Clean Air to involve school kids in pollution monitoring.</p><p>The IEPA already monitors and color-codes a <a href="http://www.epa.state.il.us/air/aqi/">daily air quality index</a> for the greater Chicago area, but IEPA director Lisa Bonnett says she wants to involve the public more closely in air quality monitoring.</p><p>&ldquo;All of us can do our part,&rdquo; Bonnett said, &ldquo;and that&rsquo;s how you really get those improvements to air quality.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Although air pollution in the Chicago area has decreased in recent decades, Cook County this year got <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-04/cook-countys-air-quality-gets-f-american-lung-association-106828">a failing grade for air quality from the American Lung Association</a>. Meanwhile, says Bonnett, standards for air pollutants have been lowered as regulators discover or confirm new health risks from poor air quality.</p><p>Weather is the primary cause of daily fluctuations in air quality; hot, stagnant summer days mean Chicago&rsquo;s smog sticks around in the area, and the direction of the wind or a storm can also lead to higher-air pollution days.</p><p>&ldquo;The weather&rsquo;s been a challenge over the last few years,&rdquo; said Bonnett, referring to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/what%E2%80%99s-causing-record-low-levels-lake-michigan-105262">drought</a>, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/flooding-drought-year-106171">flooding </a>and heat waves that have all stricken the region lately.</p><p>IEPA says Chicagoans can contribute to cleaner air over the long term by taking public transportation and switching to energy-efficient lighting and appliance options. And the USEPA is taking public comments on a <a href="http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tier3.htm">new proposed regulation</a> for vehicle emissions that would hold the whole country to a much tighter standard beginning in 2017.</p><p>For now, any school in the greater Chicago area can request air quality flags.</p><p><em>Lewis Wallace is a Pritzker Journalism Fellow at WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/lewispants">@lewispants</a></em>.</p><p><strong>Map of commercial and industrial air pollution sources</strong></p><p><a name="map"></a>A USEPA map provides data from 2008 on yearly emissions of six key pollutants from major contributors like landfills, airports and manufacturing plants. Find out more about air pollution in your area on <a href="http://www.epa.gov/air/emissions/where.htm">USEPA&#39;s website</a>.</p><div id="map-canvas">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 16:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-flag-program-promote-air-quality-chicago-area-106911 New Southeast Side power plant reignites air quality concerns http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/new-southeast-side-power-plant-reignites-air-quality-concerns-92068 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/352250460_ee2f9e5565_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Residents of the Southeast Side have faced pollution from nearby Indiana coal plants. The decision to shut down an aging plant in the early part of 2011 brought hope for fresher air. But a new plant reignited concerns--and several Southeast Side community groups have since joined forces. Cheryl Johnson, CEO and president of<a href="http://www.peopleforcommunityrecovery.org/#%21page-3" target="_blank"> People for Community Recovery</a>, is part of the alliance. She spoke to <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> about the issues the new power plant raises on the Southeast Side.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/new-southeast-side-power-plant-reignites-air-quality-concerns-92068 EPA hears testimony on coal power pollution http://www.wbez.org/story/epa-hears-testimony-coal-power-pollution-86991 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/Margaret Nelson Sings EPA.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Coal power plants in Illinois might have to reduce emissions to meet new federal standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.<br> <br> Midwesterners who testified at a public hearing in Chicago Tuesday afternoon were overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed EPA plan. Chicago area resident Margaret Nelson voiced her approval through singing a song.</p><p>"What in ignorance we have damaged, we will work now to repair," she sang. "To the coming generations, leave an earth that's green and fair."<br> <br> The proposed rule would require reduced emissions of heavy metals including mercury, arsenic and acidic gases, among others.</p><p>Studies by the Harvard School of Public Health have linked pollution from Chicago's Fisk and Crawford coal plants to 40 deaths and 2,800 asthma attacks annually. The plants are located on Chicago's Southwest Side and still use generating units built between 1958-1961.<br> <br> More EPA hearings are taking place this week in Philadelphia and Atlanta.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 May 2011 22:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/epa-hears-testimony-coal-power-pollution-86991 Solis hangs on in 25th after power plant flip-flop http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/solis-hangs-25th-after-power-plant-flip-flop-84808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/1Solis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Ald. Danny Solis hung on in his 25th Ward runoff Tuesday. But the defeated candidate says he too has reason to celebrate.<br> <br> Solis did not support a proposal for the city to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants — he didn't, that is, until he fell short in the election’s first round and landed in the runoff.<br> <br> Solis says he needed to get in tune with constituents upset about the Fisk Generating Station, a coal-fired plant in Pilsen, a largely Mexican neighborhood in the ward. The flip-flop seems to have sealed his reelection.<br> <br> “I am committed to passing the Clean [Power] Ordinance in the city of Chicago,” Solis told his supporters Tuesday night after winning about 54 percent of the runoff vote.<br> <br> The losing candidate, Cuahutémoc Morfin, took credit: “We made him come to the right side of the issue in the environmental issue, which is the coal plant here, which pollutes the air that we breathe.”<br> <br> With Solis behind the power-plant proposal, it has a better chance of passing the City Council.</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 08:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/solis-hangs-25th-after-power-plant-flip-flop-84808