Valley sees progress against air pollution

The Valley is home to some of the worst air pollution in the country but experts call 2013 the cleanest ozone year in history.
April 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Valley is home to some of the worst air pollution in the country but experts call 2013 the cleanest ozone year in history.

A new report by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association or CAPCOA, indicates the state's air quality is improving but further progress may be difficult.

Jack Broadbent explained, "We are particularly concerned that the drought will exacerbate the air quality conditions in much of California."

Air officials are especially worried about summer wildfires because of the dry conditions. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says in 2013 it recorded zero violations of the hourly ozone standard which measures vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions, that was a first.

"We've seen huge improvement," said Jaime Holt with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. "One hour ozone we actually feel like we're meeting the federal standard. Eight hour ozone getting better but we still have a long way to go."

The smoggy air tends to stagnate during the warmer months.

It's nice to see the mountains on clear days but they also serve as a reminder of why Central California has unhealthy air.

Holt explained, "In the Valley we have the topography. We're surrounded by mountains so we have this bowl that helps trap pollution."

Experts say our health depends on continued efforts to reduce auto exhaust and industrial smoke.

Broadbent said, "There's a variety of studies that regularly show that air pollutants are more harmful at lower levels than previously thought."

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District did not have any hourly ozone violations. However, it had close to 80 violations of the eight-hour ozone standard.


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