Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving green spaces across the city does more than combat climate change: it also creates cleaner, healthier air for every resident. New York City’s air quality is cleaner than it has been in over fifty years, and continues to improve citywide.
However, air pollution remains a threat to public health It is estimated that particulate matter (PM2.5) contributes to more than 2,000 deaths and over 6,000 emergency visits and hospitalizations for cardiovascular and respiratory disease each year. Like other environmental threats, these particularly affect vulnerable populations including the elderly, children, people with preexisting health conditions, and residents of low-income neighborhoods. The rate of emergency room visits due to PM2.5-attributable asthma is three times higher in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods compared to more affluent ones.
Our goal is for New York City to have the best air quality among all large U.S. cities. We are committed to reducing disparities in ambient pollution level exposures within the city by 20 percent for PM2.5 and 50 percent for sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 2030 relative to 2013. Meeting this goal will require significant reductions in air pollutant emissions. We will need to implement local strategies, as well as continue working with state and federal partners to reduce emissions from upwind sources.