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State of Nuevo León first to benefit from improved nationwide air quality information system

This press release is available in Spanish and French.

Monterrey, 13 November 2012Today, the Nuevo Len state ministry of sustainable development, with support from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), launched a revamped air quality information management system in Monterrey, Mexico, using AirNow-International.

This CEC initiative, developed in coordination with Canadian, Mexican and US government agencies, is laying the foundation for improved ways to inform citizens around the country about air quality in their communities with real-time data that is consistent with the national air quality monitoring programs in Canada and the United States.

"From now on, we'll have a better understanding of air pollution episodes and their spatial and temporal dynamics in the atmosphere. We'll have the tools to evaluate air pollution control strategies, as well as better communication tools like maps and graphics that track the movement of pollutants, and forecasts of air pollution events to inform the residents of the Monterrey Metropolitan Area," said Fernando Gutirrez Moreno, Secretary of Sustainable Development for Nuevo Len.

Air quality can worsen when the concentration of pollutants in the air increases. The elderly, children, individuals with respiratory illness and those who work outside are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality. The AirNow system provides information so that these groups can properly prepare by limiting their time spent outdoors, and assists local authorities in their air pollution management efforts. That information will allow the publication of real-time reports on the city's air quality, with information on a wider range of pollutants, including particulate pollution that currently poses a threat to health in many Mexican cities. Monterrey will also implement a sophisticated pollution alert system.

"With the launch of the AirNow system in Mexico, we'll now have a consistent set of tools to process and disseminate information on air quality conditions across North America," said Orlando Cabrera-Rivera, CEC's air quality program manager.

Earlier this year, the CEC arranged for Mexican environmental and public health agencies to meet with their counterparts in the US and Canada to discuss the development of a Mexican Air Quality Indexand the implementation of the AirNow-International system.

AirNow, developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is the main portal for accessing current air quality conditions and forecasts for the United States and Canada. AirNow-International is an offshoot of the AirNow system for use by international partners around the world. AirNow-International was adopted by Shanghai, China in 2010, and it is being considered for future implementation in Brazil and other parts of China. AirNow-International developer Sonoma Technology, Inc. has been working with CEC to implement the AirNow-International system in Mexico.


Contact: Megan Ainscow
Commission for Environmental Cooperation

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