As Rhode Island’s air quality continues to be impacted by significant wildfires in Canada, the Ocean State is getting another $178,046 in federal funding this week to help detect bad air quality from events like wildfires and industrial pollution and keep the public informed.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is getting the formula funds under the Clean Air Act to gather data on regional air quality, evaluate it, and share it with the public in a timely manner.
“Clean air is critical to public health and our quality of life. Air pollution has no boundaries or respect for borders and state lines. Rhode Island, New England, and other East Coast states are being impacted by this significant Canadian wildfire. Hopefully conditions will soon improve. Until then, this type of federal funding can help us be better informed and prepared and we must continue working to prevent pollution and improve air quality,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned Rhode Islanders that hazy skies, reduced visibility, and a wood-burning odor may be likely, and that the smoke from Canada could linger for a few days in northern states.
In November, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) was awarded $500,000 in federal funding to conduct community air quality monitoring in Providence, Rhode Island. The federal funds were made available under the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan Act to enhance community air quality monitoring efforts.
Smoke levels may be variable so check for more information about DEM’s air quality forecast, at: https://dem.ri.gov. Updated fire and smoke information can also be found on EPA’s fire and smoke map at: https://fire.airnow.gov/.
Individuals most likely to suffer adverse health effects from poor air quality include those with respiratory difficulties or heart or lung disease, the elderly, children, and pregnant women. Members of these groups may consider minimizing exposure to smoke by limiting outdoor exertion when air quality conditions are at or above unhealthy levels.
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