11. SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

NC residents breathing the cleanest air in decades, new report says

NC residents breathing the cleanest air in decades, new report says
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NC residents breathing the cleanest air in decades, new report says  CBS17.com

NC residents breathing the cleanest air in decades, new report says

The State of North Carolina Achieves Cleanest Air in Decades

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The state of North Carolina currently has the cleanest air it has had in decades, according to the latest Air Quality Trends in North Carolina report published by the N.C. Division of Air Quality.

Introduction

The Air Quality Trends in North Carolina report, released in September 2023, highlights the significant progress made in improving air quality in the state. This achievement is attributed to the collective efforts of state leaders, regulatory agencies, electric utilities, industry, and the public. The successful reduction of harmful air pollutants aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, specifically Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Goal 13: Climate Action.

Key Findings

  • Emissions of criteria air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act have decreased statewide from 1990 through 2020. The following metrics demonstrate the significant reduction:
    1. 94% for sulfur dioxide (SO2)
    2. 73% for carbon monoxide (CO)
    3. 72% for oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
    4. 49% for fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
    5. 68% for volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • The number of ozone exceedance days statewide remains low. From 2013-2022, North Carolina recorded only one day of “Code Red” or above for ozone, compared to 119 such days from 2003-2012.
  • Visibility in national and state parks has significantly improved in the last 20 years. Reductions in emissions of SO2, NOx, and other air pollutants have led to increased visibility. For example, in 2021, visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park could see as far as 117 miles on an average clear day, compared to just 54 miles in 1996.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion have decreased by 21% from 2005 to 2018 due to a shift in fuel use and increased energy efficiency. Despite this reduction, North Carolina’s population and real Gross State Product have continued to grow.
  • Over the past 28 years, combined emissions of federally designated Hazardous Air Pollutants and state-designated Toxic Air Pollutants have fallen by more than 100 million pounds, representing a 79% decrease.

Conclusion

The significant improvement in air quality in North Carolina is a testament to the successful collaboration between various stakeholders and the commitment to environmental stewardship. This achievement aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Goal 13: Climate Action. Continued efforts and initiatives are necessary to maintain and further improve air quality for the well-being of the state’s residents and the environment.

Note: The information presented in this report is based on the Air Quality Trends in North Carolina report published by the N.C. Division of Air Quality in September 2023.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

1. Sustainable Development Goal: Good Health and Well-being

  • Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.
  • Indicator: Reduction in emissions of harmful air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

2. Sustainable Development Goal: Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
  • Indicator: Decrease in emissions of criteria air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.

3. Sustainable Development Goal: Climate Action

  • Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
  • Indicator: Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion.

4. Sustainable Development Goal: Life Below Water

  • Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
  • Indicator: Reduction in emissions of harmful air pollutants that can contribute to marine pollution.

5. Sustainable Development Goal: Life on Land

  • Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services.
  • Indicator: Improvement in visibility in national and state parks due to reductions in emissions of air pollutants.

Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
Good Health and Well-being Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination. Reduction in emissions of harmful air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.
Sustainable Cities and Communities Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management. Decrease in emissions of criteria air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.
Climate Action Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion.
Life Below Water Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution. Reduction in emissions of harmful air pollutants that can contribute to marine pollution.
Life on Land Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services. Improvement in visibility in national and state parks due to reductions in emissions of air pollutants.

Analysis

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

The issues highlighted in the article are connected to the following SDGs:

– Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3)

– Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11)

– Climate Action (SDG 13)

– Life Below Water (SDG 14)

– Life on Land (SDG 15)

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

Based on the article’s content, the specific targets identified are:

– Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.

– Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.

– Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

– Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.

– Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

Yes, there are indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets. These indicators include:

– Reduction in emissions of harmful air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

– Decrease in emissions of criteria air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.

– Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion.

– Reduction in emissions of harmful air pollutants that can contribute to marine pollution.

– Improvement in visibility in national and state parks due to reductions in emissions of air pollutants.

These indicators reflect the progress made in addressing air quality concerns, reducing pollution, and promoting environmental stewardship.

By analyzing the article, we can identify the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets, and indicators. The issues highlighted in the article are connected to multiple SDGs, including Good Health and Well-being, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land. The specific targets identified based on the article’s content include reducing deaths and illnesses from pollution, reducing environmental impact of cities, integrating climate change measures, preventing marine pollution, and conserving ecosystems. The indicators mentioned or implied in the article include reductions in emissions of harmful air pollutants, decrease in criteria air pollutants, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, reduction in pollutants contributing to marine pollution, and improvement in visibility in parks. These indicators can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: cbs17.com

 

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