About the Air Quality Management Online PortalWhy was this Web site created? What is air quality management? What is the mission of the Web site and who is the target audience? How do I use this Web site?
Why was this Web site created?
A tremendous amount of information currently exists on the Internet about air quality management, including on EPA's web site. EPA's primary audience for technical information is state, local, and tribal environmental professionals, i.e., people who understand the U.S. system of air quality management and can readily search and find information based on that system. Recognizing that many international environmental professionals may not be familiar with our unique system, this site seeks to identify useful resources within the EPA web site as well as other good sources of information. The Clean Air Initiative and the World Health Organization's Air Quality Guidelines are two excellent examples of other detailed sources of air quality management information and we have drawn upon these resources as we have developed this site.
What is air quality management?
Air quality management (AQM) refers to all the activities a regulatory authority undertakes to make sure that the air we breathe is safe, both outdoors and indoors. The AQM process is the system of understanding the sources that contribute to pollution in the air and the health and environmental effects of the pollutants, and then taking steps to reduce or control the sources to reach or maintain agreed upon target pollution levels in the air. These levels may vary from country to country, but the overall system for planning, assessing, characterizing, mitigating, and implementing control strategies is similar.
While AQM is generally handled at the national government level, regional and local governments, industry, and the public all have important roles to play in this system. Each air quality management activity is related to the others. The AQM System Flow Chart shows the most basic relationships between these activities, but this is for illustrative purposes only. In reality, each box would have lines connecting to and from each additional box on the chart. It is also important to recognize that the entire AQM process is dynamic - there is a continuous review and assessment of standards and strategies based on their effectiveness and new research on health and environmental effects.
What is the mission of the Web site and who is the target audience?
This Air Quality Management Online Portal is:
- Targeted towards international air quality management professionals who are at varied levels of expertise and familiarity with the U.S. air quality management paradigm;
- Designed to offer an overview of the essential components of air quality management, specifically removed from the context of the U.S. Clean Air Act;
- Directed to users as a guide to relevant resources developed by the U.S. EPA and other major leaders in the air quality management field; and
- Linked to specific statutes, standards, models and methodologies used by the U.S., which are provided as examples and resources. Where possible, links are provided to other government and non-government organizations' web sites.
How do I use this Web site?
Within this Web site, each management activity has a definition, overview, "how to" section, and links to a list of resources. The resources are organized into categories: publications and reports, organizations and agencies, and training. On the general Resources page (accessed via the Sidebar), there are also case studies and some overarching resources.
On each management activity page you will also find a small version of the AQM system flow chart (presented on the home page), which is designed to help you easily see where you are in the system. Also on each page is a "Contact Us" link. If you know of a web site of interest for a particular topic, find a link that does not work, or have any questions or comments about the web site, feel free to let us know.