Poor air quality in Phoenix is a big problem. It’s even worse for sensitive groups like babies, children, the old, and those suffering from heart or lung illnesses like asthma. They’re easily affected by foreign particles in the atmosphere, that when inhaled, get deep into their bloodstream and end up affecting their breathing systems.
According to the American Lung Association, the metropolitan city of Phoenix is ranked as the 7th most ozone polluted city in Canada.
What causes air pollution in Phoenix?
Let’s break it down for you.
When we say air pollution, we refer to the availability of particulate matter in the air apart from the air itself. For instance, air quality in Phoenix mostly contains ozone gases. Although the earth needs some ozone, it’s only valuable when it’s high up in the sky. Other substances that vary in size like the 10 and 2.5 particulate matter are also contributing factors to air pollution in Arizona.
The larger the number, the bigger the particle. This means that 10 pm (particulate matter) particles aren’t big enough to be absorbed into the blood system. They mostly cause severe disorders like coughs and nose blockages on dusty days.
However, the 2.5pm particles are minute (approximately twenty times smaller than the size of a human hair). This gives them the ability to penetrate further into the bloodstream. Therefore, causing a lot of harm, especially to those with underlying health problems.
But why is the air in Phoenix so polluted?
The air pollution in Arizona is further contributed by the topography of the land. Do some research you’ll find that Phoenix is surrounded by valleys. This places it in a position where wind rarely blows over the city. This means that all the toxic particles settle in the city with no escape.
If this is the case, how will you protect yourself from the poor air quality if you live in Phoenix?
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Read on to find out more tips on you can protect yourself and your family.
1. Take care of your HVAC system
A good HVAC system is all that stands between your family and all of those nasty particles outside. Make sure you change your filters regularly and have a reliable HVAC professional conduct regular maintenance. If you’re handy with tools check out this list of simple maintenance you can do yourself.
You should also look into having an Air Scrubber Plus installed in your home. If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, we’d be more than happy to do that for you. The Air Scrubber Plus is the only home air filtration device certified by NASA for maintaining air quality aboard the International Space Station. That level of quality is hard to beat!
Next time you replace your air filter, try one of these – the best filters around, based on our expertise and research.
2. Download a phone weather application
We should all appreciate the mushrooming technology available to us in this age. It has eased lots of things which would have required a lot of input and labor.
For instance, in the past decade, your common man would not have been able to tell the weather, unless he or she was a meteorologist.
Today, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has come up with an application that shows the current condition of air pollution in specific places wherever you are.
What a relief to the residents of Phoenix, we can now take measures and protect ourselves from the unseen enemy (air pollution). This software from EPA has a simple UI. Therefore, anyone can easily make use of it.
When you turn on the application, a flag pops up with an associated color that indicates the quality of the air around you. It’s calibrated from zero to five hundred with the highest number meaning the worst air quality.
Each span has its meaning, for instance:
- 0 – 50 this range has a green color, meaning the air condition is favorable for everyone.
- 51 – 100 it’s indicated yellow for moderate air quality.
- 101 – 150 it pops up with an orange color, meaning unhealthy and not good, especially to those people who are highly sensitive.
- 101 – 200 it’s red. This means danger and unsafe for everyone.
- 201 – 300 it shows purple. This means that the quality of air around is very unhealthy.
- 301 – 500 with a rare color of maroon. It’s the most hazardous of all the ranges. It only happens if there is an intense monsoon wind or wildfire.
With the help of this application, people can easily protect themselves from air pollution in Phoenix. It has made life a lot easier for us. Are you living in an area with a lot of pollution? If you’re suffering from breathing illnesses, then you might have to relocate to another city. If not, there is still a lot you can do to improve the quality of your indoor air.
3. Avoid the burning of waste products
Phoenix air pollution is not only influenced by wildfire but also, any fire one might be using, say for domestic purposes. Most of the residents have no idea of how far smoke particles can travel in the air.
For example, if one lights up a fire in North Scotts dale, the smoke will travel and eventually settle in South Phoenix. This will then contribute to poor air quality in Phoenix (bear in mind, the wind rarely blows over this region, especially during stagnant weather). This forces the smoke particles to settle down, hence polluting the air.
However, higher particulate matter concentration is experienced mostly in the night as compared to during the day, why?
Allow us to explain.
As mentioned before, Phoenix is surrounded by valleys. It’s like the bottom of a deep bowl (the lowest parts being South and Southwest Phoenix). As the warm air rises, the cold air sinks. This eventually creates an inversion (the region where the cold air below has an interface with the warm air above).
So, if there were any smoke particles in the air that night, they’ll bombard with the cold air and sink together into the city. Many will be at risk of inhaling polluted air. However, this eventually breaks in the morning when the sun rises, allowing trapped air and smoke particles to rise.
Those from the North-East and East valley are more vulnerable to ozone pollution that also results from smoke particles in the air- This is because, despite the calmness in the region, some slight breeze is experienced during the day carrying the ozone with it towards this direction
Even though the government is effortlessly trying to help control wildfire, every citizen, especially those in Phoenix and surrounding areas, can also help control the air pollution in Arizona by avoiding the burning of waste materials. Recycling is a better alternative.
4. Use electric appliances and machines
Not only does the smoke from wild-fires pollute the air, but also smoke from appliances such as a kerosene stove, cooking gas, and kerosene lamps. Machines like the diesel posho mills and lawnmowers can also be replaced by electric ones that don’t emit smoke.
Today’s technology has led to the invention of cars that don’t require fuel. (If you’re thinking of getting yourself a new ride, do Mother Nature a favor and consider electric cars. These types don’t emit smoke into the environment and thus, will greatly help in protecting the air quality in Phoenix).
What if you currently own a gas vehicle? Worry not, you can also protect the environment in other simple ways like fueling your vehicle during the night. Why fuel in the night and not during the day?
During the night, there is no sunlight. This means that the gas fumes produced while fueling will not interact with the light from the sun to form ground-level ozone.
With this knowledge on the formation of ozone, you should now remember to turn off your engine when stuck in traffic during the day or at any stopover, even if it won’t last a minute. You can also reduce the number of trips that you take in a day by getting all your stuff in one trip.
You should also make sure that your car passes the emission test before you use it for your daily activities. This has been made easy by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality by starting a voluntary program of vehicle repair that gives vehicle owners up to $550 for repair purposes.
Another simple way of reducing air pollution in Arizona is by cycling to work. You can do this by driving halfway, then cycling the remaining distance. Even though you’ve driven some distance, the amount of pollution that you’ll have caused will be much less, and this counts.
Air pollution in Phoenix has been a nightmare for the longest time possible. The government has tried solving this issue by preventing and putting out forest fire outbreaks, it has also helped by ensuring that industries in the region don’t emit dangerous gases into the atmosphere.
As the saying goes, (unity is strength), the residents of Phoenix can also protect themselves from air pollution by spreading the news to their friends, family, colleagues, and any other person from their neighborhood on how they can protect the air quality in Phoenix. We must all do our best to try and improve the current environmental situation in Phoenix, Arizona. Reading and sharing this article is a good start in doing this.