Con Edison recently converted a 111-year-old steam plant on East 74th Street in Manhattan to natural gas, in turn cutting fossil fuel emissions by a reported 40 percent.
Another facility on West 59th Street is also being converted to bring a cheaper and more environmental friendly power source to the city.
“It’s equivalent to taking about 26,000 cars off the streets,” said Con Ed project manager Jim Shannon in a Daily News article this week.
However, according to the conversion maps and timelines on the Con Edison website for the rest of the city, the “12 Area Growth Zones” currently slated for possible expansion in 2014 are only focusing on Manhattan and the Bronx.
What about the rest of the city?
Portions of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island also have some of the highest asthma-related emergency room visits and some of the highest ozone and air pollution-attributed mortality rates, according to a Department of Health study titled, “Air Pollution and the Health of New Yorkers: The Impact of Fine Particles and Ozone.”
According to the study, an estimated 3,200 fine particle-related deaths occur every year among adults 30 and older, with especially high rates in areas near Bushwick and Ridgewood.
The same areas have also been noted for high cases in asthma-related emergency room visits, with over 100 to 200 visits per every 100,000, in the region.
Pediatric doctors at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick have even gone as far as to bring in innovative asthma treatment programs like Asthmapolis, a FDA-approved device that connects to inhalers to record digital information, to the fight.
While air quality is significantly low in the northern Manhattan and the Bronx, there should also be a comprehensive plan to unilaterally bring the rest of the city up-to-date on natural gas and clean energy-producing alternatives, as well.