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U.S. Embassy in San José joins EPA’s air quality tracking program

November 5, 2019

How’s the air in Costa Rica? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can now tell you.

The U.S. Embassy in San José recently installed a device that shares real-time air quality data. It’s part of the EPA’s worldwide “AirNow” initiative to provide transparent information about outdoor air.

So far, the results look promising for San José residents. The device has been recording hourly data since Sept. 2, and just twice has the air quality index (AQI) reached unhealthy levels — from 3 to 5 a.m. on Sept. 8.

“Air pollution is a serious and growing health threat worldwide, yet in many areas, real-time air quality data is unavailable,” the U.S. Embassy said in a release. “Thanks in large part to the Clean Air Act, the United States is a global leader in air quality policy, science, and technology.”

Costa Rican health authorities also monitor the country’s air quality throughout the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) surrounding San José. However, the data isn’t shared as regularly with the public.

The AirNow program comes to Costa Rica as the United States has changed its stance on environmental issues under the administration of President Donald Trump. The U.S. has formally started to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and Trump has reportedly proposed slashing the EPA’s budget by nearly a third.

Check out the AirNow map and raw data here.

 

 

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