Study Indicated Pollution Problems With New York Subways


A study published in Environmental Health Perspective journal had warned of pollution in New York subways. The study claimed that the subways in New York City are the most polluted in the Northeast. It also said that one subterranean station particularly has higher levels of particulate pollution as compared to other subterranean stations in the world.

The study was conducted by the Langone’s Department of Environmental Medicine in New York University. They received assistance from researchers from Connecticut and Alabama. Four metropolitan centers in the Northeast, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York, were studied for pollution across 71 stations. 

Study Indicated Pollution Problems With New York Subways

Pollution due to carbon particulates and other particulate matter was tested during the rush hours at the locations. Pollution was measured on the platforms of the test stations in the ambient environment outside the stations. The same was measured in the trains while riding between different stations. 

The results showed that the century-old Port Authority Trans Hudson system is the dirtiest line. This age-old line connects New York City to Northern New Jersey. The research points out one particular station as the most polluted. The Christopher Street PATH at Manhattan was found to have particulate matter leading to pollution. The station has pollution that is reported to be higher than any other subway system in the world. 

Study Indicated Pollution Problems With New York Subways

The median of the particulate pollution that is recorded on the Christopher Street PATH at Manhattan is more than double the median value found at Philadelphia, Boston and Washington. The stations are underground stations.

The study also reported that the stations that were tested for the pollution have a particulate pollution level that is at least 2 to 7 times higher than the allowed levels. The environmental protection agency has a defined value for the ambient air quality standards recommended over a 24 hours period. 

The second position for the most polluted subways goes to the New York City subway system. This is a separate network of trains. The study showed a lower level of particulate pollution at the station as compared to the PATH line. But, it certainly leads the subways of the remaining three cities in terms of particulate matter. 

The executive director of the port authority at the PATH link system, Rick Cotton, seems concerned about the alarming report. He said in a statement that the pollution report was received, and now they are planning to dig into the report first. 

He added that they are totally concerned about the health of the workers, commuters and everyone else on the PATH system. They want to look at the report thoroughly. After that, they could arrive at conclusions. Only then will they be able to come to a desired and necessary action plan to address the PATH system’s situation. 

However, the New York subway system’s metropolitan transit authority did not respond to the requests for commenting on the pollution report.

The study also found that the underground stations have higher particulate pollution levels than in the train riding between stations. However, the trains are found to have higher pollution when compared to the stations above ground. 

The report was alarming as the conclusion drives to the point that the particulate pollution levels in the train, on underground stations and as well as on stations above ground are reported to have a higher median amount than the recommended levels at ambient conditions.

The researchers pointed that the possible pollution source can be the continuous grinding of train wheels, electricity collecting shoes, and the soot emissions from diesel locomotives. 

The researchers concluded that even though the test stations were chosen in anticipation of higher pollution levels, the report is still alarming when health issues are concerned.


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