Air Quality in Phoenix

Air quality in Phoenix has been degrading through the years, slowly but surely. With efforts to educate the public on ways to decrease air pollution some improvements were seen, until 2005 when they had their worst pollution ever. Now it’s time for the people of Phoenix to buckle down and fight the pollution sources that are endangering their outdoor way of life and their very health. Clean air is what used to bring people to Phoenix, and that seems to be an endangered species now.

When most people think of Phoenix, Arizona, they think of clear, crisp dry air that is recuperative for people who suffer from respiratory ailments. Although this used to be the case, it is now an area that has seen a huge increase in air pollution over the last twenty years. The air quality in Phoenix has been steadily decreasing, which has caused major environmental and health concerns for the city and its citizens.

Since the early 1990’s, Phoenix residents have been noticing a “brown cloud” over their beautiful city. This brown cloud hovers over the city almost every day, exposing the citizens and environment to its pollution. This is part of the reason the city was given its lowest grade ever in air quality by the American Lung Association is 2005. Health concerns are high, because as much as 79% of the city’s citizens are at risk for serious respiratory problems that are caused by the air quality in Phoenix.
What pollutants cause this brown cloud? The most common pollutants found in the air in Phoenix include miniscule particles of carbon and nitrogen dioxide gas. These pollutants are created by many different things, including power plants, gas powered lawn equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, cars, and construction related dust. Burning of fossil fuels is the most common source of pollution in this area, but the location and climate of the area also help to decrease the air quality in Phoenix.
Phoenix, Arizona is also known as the “Valley of the Sun”. This distinction is due to the hot, dry climate that the city is known for. The city of Phoenix is located in a valley, which means that when an inversion of cold air from the mountains comes in below the warm air and gets trapped in the valley. The conditions that cause the inversion also trap the pollution in the city of Phoenix by not allowing it to dissipate. During the day, the air shifting can cause the pollution to ebb some, but as soon as the night comes, the air pollution is trapped once again.
How are they trying to help the air quality in Phoenix? The most important thing that is occurring is that they are trying to give the residents knowledge about the air pollution, its sources, and some ways to decrease the pollution. Businesses and government are also a part of making the air quality in Phoenix better by passing laws to help regulate the release of the pollutants into the air by businesses, factories, and industries. There are things that the average citizen can do to help decrease the release of pollutants into the air, including driving their cars less by choosing to walk, riding in a carpool, or using public transportation, finding and purchasing automobiles that use alternative fuels, and using electricity more efficiently.
The air quality in Phoenix had seen slight improvement prior to 2005 but that year marked the worst year in air quality that they had ever seen. The reason for this huge decrease in air quality is most likely due to new construction, which received fines that were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2005 due to their flagrant disregard for dust and permit violations. Other major violators including manufacturers and trucking companies.
It will take everyone working together to help the air quality in Phoenix. From multi-million dollar businesses to the average person, it will take a cooperative effort and some changes being made in how they carry out day-to-day operations to make Phoenix a place where residents and visitors alike can breathe easier and healthier.

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