Air Quality in Birmingham and Surrounding Areas Improves

(AP) The Environmental Protection Agency says air quality in Birmingham and in surrounding areas is improving.{}{} {}Jefferson County, Shelby County, and a portion of Walker County have been designated as areas that have achieved six primary air quality standards that are monitored by federal officials.{}{} {}For about three decades, particulate matter floating in the air - mostly soot from coal-fired power plants, car exhaust and industrial emissions - kept the areas from reaching full compliance with federal air quality standards.{}{} {}The Alabama Department of Environmental Management and local health departments were tasked with making plans to address air quality issues. The plans led to improved pollution and emissions regulations and eventually lower levels of air pollution.