Air quality districts respond to report that poorly rated many CA counties

As summer approaches, we start thinking more and more about wildfire season and the air quality issues that come along with it. Wildfire smoke is a major pollutant for California. It is classified as a “fine particulate.” Ozone is another major form of pollution. Every year, the American Lung Association releases a national summary of air quality data for every county in the United States called the “State of the Air” report. In it, each county is given a letter grade for air quality based on data from the previous three years. This year’s report assigned most California counties an “F” for particle pollution. KCRA 3 introduced those findings last week.Local air quality districts agree that the data used in the report is accurate but want to make it clear that the state has made major progress in limiting pollution from sources that are well within our control. “In California, most of the air pollution that we are concerned about, whether it’s ozone pollution, whether it’s particulate matter or greenhouse gasses, most of that pollution is going to come from the transportation sector,” said Alberto Ayala, the executive director for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality District.Over the last couple of decades, state and local policies have pushed the region toward using more clean energy technologies, cleaner transportation fuels as well as developing better pollution mitigation strategies. Ayala says the American Lung Association report’s intent to start a conversation about air quality and our health is very important. He also wants to emphasize the positive changes the state and region have seen. “Clearly, there’s still too much pollution in the air but if you compare the levels of pollution that we’re having to deal with today versus say 20, 30, 40 years ago we have made significant progress,” Ayala said. California has made According to data maintained by the state, days with unhealthy smog conditions have dropped from 81 in 2000 to 47 in 2020. The downward trend in ozone pollution continued in 2021. But pollution from wildfire smoke is capable That is what led to so many counties receiving failing air quality grades from the American Lung Association this year.”We need to do better,” Ayala said. “Our state is investing and it’s moving so that we can better manage mitigating the impact from wildfires and that’s why it’s so important to continue our efforts towards decarbonization.”Decarbonizing our environment will lower overall pollution levels and in the long term, help to slow Both would help to lessen the impact of a major wildfire on the region’s air quality.”Honestly, we don’t want to respond to more wildfires,” Ayala says. “We want to get in front of the issues and do more to prevent the fires from even starting to begin with.”But Ayala and other air quality managers know that even big changes now won’t create immediate results. “The unfortunate reality though is any of those measures is going to take time,” he said. “We didn’t get here overnight and I think it’s going to take us some time to come out of it.”

As summer approaches, we start thinking more and more about wildfire season and the air quality issues that come along with it.

Wildfire smoke is a major pollutant for California. It is classified as a “fine particulate.” Ozone is another major form of pollution.

Every year, the American Lung Association releases a national summary of air quality data for every county in the United States called the “State of the Air” report. In it, each county is given a letter grade for air quality based on data from the previous three years.

This year’s report assigned most California counties an “F” for particle pollution. KCRA 3 introduced those findings last week.

Local air quality districts agree that the data used in the report is accurate but want to make it clear that the state has made major progress in limiting pollution from sources that are well within our control.

“In California, most of the air pollution that we are concerned about, whether it’s ozone pollution, whether it’s particulate matter or greenhouse gasses, most of that pollution is going to come from the transportation sector,” said Alberto Ayala, the executive director for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality District.

Over the last couple of decades, state and local policies have pushed the region toward using more clean energy technologies, cleaner transportation fuels as well as developing better pollution mitigation strategies.

Ayala says the American Lung Association report‘s intent to start a conversation about air quality and our health is very important. He also wants to emphasize the positive changes the state and region have seen.

“Clearly, there’s still too much pollution in the air but if you compare the levels of pollution that we’re having to deal with today versus say 20, 30, 40 years ago we have made significant progress,” Ayala said.

California has made the biggest strides in limiting sources of ozone. According to data maintained by the state, days with unhealthy smog conditions have dropped from 81 in 2000 to 47 in 2020.

The downward trend in ozone pollution continued in 2021. But pollution from wildfire smoke is capable of wiping out that progress. That is what led to so many counties receiving failing air quality grades from the American Lung Association this year.

“We need to do better,” Ayala said. “Our state is investing and it’s moving so that we can better manage mitigating the impact from wildfires and that’s why it’s so important to continue our efforts towards decarbonization.”

Decarbonizing our environment will lower overall pollution levels and in the long term, help to slow the effects of climate change. Both would help to lessen the impact of a major wildfire on the region’s air quality.

“Honestly, we don’t want to respond to more wildfires,” Ayala says. “We want to get in front of the issues and do more to prevent the fires from even starting to begin with.”

But Ayala and other air quality managers know that even big changes now won’t create immediate results.

“The unfortunate reality though is any of those measures is going to take time,” he said. “We didn’t get here overnight and I think it’s going to take us some time to come out of it.”

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *