Air Quality Awareness Week

Air Quality in Maricopa County

There is one thing that everyone who lives and visits Maricopa County has in common. We all breathe air. The average adult takes about 15 breaths per minute, inhaling nearly two gallons of air. That adds up to 21,600 breaths or 2,880 gallons of air each day.

For many who have asthma or another respiratory ailment every breath is a struggle. Breathing air that is not clean makes matters worse.

April 30-May 4 is Air Quality Awareness Week. Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) is sharing information to educate people on simple actions they can take to help reduce air pollution and improve air quality.

MCAQD is proud of the progress the community has made in improving the air in Maricopa County. When looking at a 26-year trend of ozone pollution within Maricopa County, the average concentration levels have decreased by 10.5%; however, the air quality health standard for ozone is still not being met.

On the other hand, some pollutants have seen more dramatic reductions bringing or keeping Maricopa County below the health standards. Some examples include PM10 and PM2.5, pollutants which often come from dust and smoke. Those particulates have been reduced by 27.7% and 26.1% in the last 25 and 15 years, respectively. Carbon monoxide, a pollutant which mainly comes from automobiles, used to be a major health concern in Maricopa County, but it has been reduced by 85.2% over the last 30 years and it has been decades since the last exceedance of the health standard.

Despite the progress and improvement in our air, we should not rest on our laurels. We all need to work together to address the challenges ahead.

This week MCAQD will be posting information on various pollutants that are prevalent in the valley, challenges facing the county and how you can help keep our air clean and your family healthy.