ARIZONA NEWS

Air quality across Arizona has improved despite population increase

Apr 19, 2018, 4:01 AM
(Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Facebook Photo)...
(Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Facebook Photo)
(Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — A report from the American Lung Association showed that the air quality across Arizona continued to improve from 2014 to 2016.

Air quality has improved across the country for the past few decades. Data for Arizona showed that since 1990, the population has increased by 82 percent but air pollution has dropped by 62 percent over that time.

“Despite the fact that the population is increasing, the vehicles miles traveled per year is increasing, even our economy is growing and, with all that, we’re actually seeing improvements in air quality over time,” said Tim Franquist, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality division director.

Despite the progress, the report said there are still some locations in the state that have low grades for air quality. Some counties — Gila, Maricopa, Pinal and Yuma — even received “F” grades in regards to the number of days that had high pollution.

“We are in a big city, we do have a lot of vehicles on the road and, so, we are still having out challenges with ozone primarily due to vehicles,” Franquist said.

Franquist said that the department encouraged people to take advantage of public transportation like the bus or light rail.

“Anything we can do to reduce the amount of miles we’re driving per day really, really helps with our ozone levels,” he said.

KTAR News’ Mark Carlson contributed to this report.

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Air quality across Arizona has improved despite population increase