ATLANTA -- Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a final determination that the Macon area meets the 1997 federal fine particulate matter standard. The Macon area includes Bibb County, in its entirety, and a portion of Monroe County in Georgia.
'We commend local and state officials, as well as the residents of the Macon area, who have been working collaboratively with us to reach this milestone,' said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. “This accomplishment signifies that the citizens of Macon are breathing cleaner air and leading healthier lives.
I look forward to our continuing to work together on a regional and local basis to keep the air clean.” James A. Capp, Chief of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s Air Protection Branch, noted that 'This determination is confirmation that the clean air programs we have in place in Georgia are working. This success is the result of the effective partnerships that Georgia EPD has with the public, regulated community, nonprofit organizations and other governmental organizations.'
EPA's decision to finalize the determination that the Macon area is attaining the standard is based on the most recent air quality monitoring data for fine particulate matter. The Macon area has made significant progress in improving air quality and has reached an important clean air milestone. Air in the Macon area is meeting the health based standard set in 1997, and the State of Georgia is currently developing a plan to put measures in place to ensure the area continues to meet this standard. This progress is a result of hard work and great cooperation among local, state and federal agencies, private partners and the approximately 180,000 Georgians who live and work in the Macon area.
Particulate matter pollution – especially fine particles – contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems. Particles can cause premature death and a wide range of lung and heart disease, including heart attacks and asthma.