Justin Willis - Fresno
The air quality in the Central Valley has improved significantly in recent years but is still getting an F from the American Lung Association.
The Central Valley is reaping the benefits of cleaner air with a 52% reduction in PM2.5 and a 56% reduction in ozone levels.
The new numbers show we do have cleaner air than we did in 2002 and the Valley Air District is thanking residents for stepping up. Jaime Holt with the air district said, "Electric lawn mowers, electric vehicles, really integrating these practices into daily life."
Holt also says residents have done a good job of abiding by the no-burn regulations over the last few years. "We're really experiencing some of the best air quality we've ever seen here in the Valley, but we want people to know, we still have a long way to go, and a lot of work in front of us," said Holt.
We do have a long way to go, which is why The American Lung Association is giving the Valley an F.
In ozone pollution, short-term particle pollution, and annual particle pollution, the Central Valley was at, or near, the top, which means more people are at risk for asthma and heart problems.
Jaime Holt with the air district said "We're all going to have to pitch in to reach those really stringent standards coming from the federal government."
Cars and trucks are the biggest source of emissions in the Central Valley. The air district says driving less will help. Car pooling and cycling are encouraged as we get into the "bad air" season, but with clean air technology improving, and residents continuing to abide no-burn regulations, officials believe we'll continue to see improved air quality in the coming years.
If you're concerned about the Valley getting an F, consider this... As beautiful as Santa Barbara is, that district also got an F, which gives you an idea of how strict these air guidelines really are.
The valley Air District says the federal government issues new air quality standards to achieve every five years. The next deadline to meet emissions reductions expectations is in 2015.
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