"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Thursday that his administration’s efforts at reducing air pollution had resulted in New York City’s having the best air quality in more than 50 years," reports Kate Taylor. A dramatic reduction in sulfur dioxide and soot pollution levels have taken place over the last half-decade.
"Since pollution exacerbates lung and cardiovascular disease, the mayor said, the city estimates that the reduction in pollution is preventing 800 deaths and 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year."
New York isn't the only city celebrating improved air quality. "For the first time since 2009, and only the second time in the last 16 years, Washington, D.C. had zero code red days for unhealthy air quality in the summer of 2013," writes Jason Samenow in The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog. "This reprieve from suffocating air represents another data point fitting into a a recent trend towards cleaner air."