NEW YORK (AP) — Ahh, smell that New York City air. No, seriously, go ahead.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city's air quality has hit its highest levels in 50 years. He made the announcement Thursday as part of a week of climate-related events.
Bloomberg says air pollution has dropped in recent years. He says the level of sulfur dioxide in the air has gone down by 69 percent since 2008. The level of soot pollution has gone down by 23 percent since 2007. The data comes from the city's Community Air Survey, which measured street level air pollution.
Officials estimate the decrease in pollution has annually prevented 800 deaths and 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Sulfur dioxide exacerbates asthma, and soot pollution impacts on heart disease and lung disease.