County Supervisor Ron Roberts announced that San Diego County has met the 1997 EPA air quality standard for ground-level ozone and will now be designated as “in attainment” heading off possible federal sanctions and withholding of transportation funds.
Ground level ozone is created when harmful emissions, such as engine exhaust, react with sunlight to form SMOG, a noxious air pollutant that damages our lungs and irritates our eyes, noses, and throats. It can be especially dangerous for those with breathing difficulty as well as the young and elderly.
“This is great news for the County,” said Roberts. “Meeting these very stringent EPA air quality standards is not only important for the health of our residents and visitors as they enjoy all the outdoor activities San Diego has to offer, but also for the health of our business environment and economic sustainability.”
“San Diego is a model for how to take cost-effective steps to improve air quality,” said Richard Corey, Acting Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board. “That’s why we chose San Diego for the pilot program for ‘Breathe Well,’ our mobile web air quality application. It provides real-time air quality readings and is a reminder that working together we can continue to reduce air pollution from all sources.”
Three fourths of our air pollution comes from mobile sources – cars, trucks, buses, ships, rail and off-road equipment. While the population, number of vehicles on the roadways, and miles traveled have steadily increased, San Diego County has seen significant improvements in its air quality due in part to newer, less-polluting vehicles and cleaner fuels.
The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) – responsible for stationary sources such as power plants, factories, gas stations and other industries – enforces the regulations and permit conditions to reduce air pollution from those sources. While a regulatory agency, the APCD offers assistance to local businesses to help them reduce their emissions and comply with air quality regulations. It also provides millions of dollars in grant funding each year to retrofit and replace engines in trucks, buses, marine vessels and even locomotives.
APCD worked with the Port of San Diego to install shore power which provides electrical power to properly equipped cruise ships and other vessels instead of running their diesel engines while at the dock.
For more information on the Air Pollution Control District, go to http://sdapcd.org
“Breathe Well,” the mobile website developed by CARB for smart phones and tablets presents real-time levels of ozone and fine particle pollution in the user’s immediate area on an hour-by-hour basis. Users can also access real-time air quality information for many California towns and cities. The data is drawn from the statewide network of approximately 200 monitors linked by satellite to a central database. The mobile website is being pilot tested in San Diego before officially going statewide. Go to: mobile.arb.ca.gov/breathewell