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Satellite confirms decline in pollution levels

US: Coal power plants in the eastern part of United States have been a major cause for environment pollution in the region. Now, a team of scientists have confirmed major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by these power plants, with the help of Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite. The pollutant, sulphur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.

The scientists, led by an Environment Canada researcher, have shown that sulphur dioxide levels in the vicinity of major coal power plants have fallen by nearly half since 2005.

The new findings, the first satellite observations of this type, confirm ground-based measurements of declining sulphur dioxide levels and demonstrate that scientists can potentially measure levels of harmful emissions throughout the world, even in places where ground monitoring is not extensive or does not exist.

About two-thirds of sulphur dioxide pollution in American air comes from coal power plants.

The scientists attribute the decline in sulphur dioxide to the Clean Air Interstate Rule, a rule passed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 that called for deep cuts in sulphur dioxide emissions.

Source: Space Daily