Last year, over one-fifth of all U.S. citizens spent significant time abroad. In the past, when U.S. citizens were overseas, they did not have ready access to air quality data. Today, thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and EPA, AirNow reaches beyond our borders to provide air quality data for Americans living and traveling abroad. This service begins with the installation and operation of state-of–the-art air monitors at U.S. embassies and consulates. Currently, 34 such posts have such monitors – made in the USA – providing hourly data to anyone who wants it. More are on the way – a total of 54 monitors are expected to be installed by August 2019.
By bringing in high quality equipment, and by following data collection and reporting criteria used in the United States, these embassies and consulates provide Americans overseas with air quality information that is based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) used in the United States. (Several other countries and institutions have created their own air quality indices; U.S. embassies and consulates use the U.S. AQI, because it is based on U.S. air quality standards and supporting health information.) The rigorous monitoring and reporting approach the embassies and consulates use also serves as an objective model for foreign audiences, spurring local action to address air quality issues.
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