El Dorado County’s Air Quality Management Control District released the following statement April 17 which describes results of the statewide effort to improve California’s air quality by reducing particulate pollution and ozone.
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The California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, comprised of officers from 35 local air districts, has released its annual California’s Progress Toward Clean Air report. The report contains statistical information on PM2.5 and ozone for 2000 and 2012. It documents dramatic reductions in fine particulate pollution levels in every county reporting air quality data.
Fine particulate pollution, also known as PM2.5, is associated with a wide range of health effects from increased hospitalizations to premature deaths. The report also shows a general trend of reductions in ground level ozone levels and it contains detailed descriptions of air pollution control programs implemented by the various districts.
California and its air districts have made remarkable progress over the past three decades, in spite of dramatic increases in population and driving.
From 1980 to 2010, the state’s population increased by 65 percent and daily vehicle miles driven increased by 137 percent. Thanks to a comprehensive air pollution control strategy, smog forming pollutants were cut by 55 percent during the same period. Recently, between 2008 and 2011, California’s largest industrial plants cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent.
“While each air district faces different local challenges, we all work in partnership toward cleaner air for California as a whole,” said Brad Poiriez, CAPCOA board president and Imperial County Air Pollution Control District air pollution control officer.
Daunting challenges remain to reach current air quality standards, especially in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California’s South Coast Air Basin, the two most severely polluted regions in the nation. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised key air quality standards to be more health-protective. Local air districts and the state must now develop plans to achieve significant further emission reductions from all sources, including cars, trucks, businesses and consumer products.
Recently, the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District increased the monetary incentive for replacing old wood stoves to encourage residents to remove or replace them. Old wood stoves are a significant source of PM2.5. Newer EPA certified wood stoves, those sold since 1988, burn much cleaner. Replacing one old wood stove reduces PM emissions as much as eliminating five old diesel busses, according to the local AQMD.
For a copy of California’s Progress Toward Clean Air, visit capcoa.org. For more information about CAPCOA and the state’s air districts, call 916-769-7769.