09—Reduce disparity of PM 2.5 across city neighborhoods 20%.
In 2018, the city had achieved a 1.4 mg/m3, or 20% reduction, across city neighborhoods.
Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) consists of small inhalable particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. PM 2.5 comes from a variety of sources, including combustion from vehicles and industrial pollution. These emissions contribute to air, water, and soil pollution; decrease visibility in cities by creating haze and smog; discolor buildings; and contribute to our warming climate. PM 2.5 is also hazardous to human health, as it can carry toxic pollutants deep into lower airways.
The city monitors and regulates air pollution through a variety of ways. The city’s Air Code is the policy framework that regulates any activities that create smoke, soot, dust, fumes, etc. In addition, through the Retrofit Accelerator and Community Retrofit NYC, the city helps building owners upgrade the energy efficiency of buildings, including helping to facilitate the transition from polluting heating oil to cleaner alternatives. According to the OneNYC 2019 Progress Report, these programs have helped remove 17,225 pounds of PM 2.5 out of the air annually.
In 2017, the City funded the construction of 10 real-time PM 2.5 monitoring units at critical locations throughout the city. These units help show how pollution levels vary throughout the day across the city’s neighborhoods.
The city originally used the In-Season Commuter Cycling Index for this indicator, but has since stopped using it. However, according to the NYC Department of Transportation, cycling increased 55% between 2012 and 2017.
In April 2020, the city temporarily suspended organics collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the suspension, while some neighborhoods had the option to enroll in curbside collection, the programs did not serve all New Yorkers.