Living in Mesa, Arizona: Breathing Clean Air
Mesa, Arizona, the third-largest city in the state, is an excellent place to live, work, and raise a family. Known for its fascinating history, breathtaking natural attractions, and year-round sunshine, Mesa is also an excellent place to breathe clean air. With its desert climate and low humidity, Mesa enjoys a relatively good air quality compared to many other major cities in the United States.
The Problem of Air Pollution
Air pollution is a critical concern for many cities worldwide, with serious health consequences for individuals living in urban areas. Arizona is no exception to this, and as the state’s population continues to grow, so does the risk of air pollution. In 2019, the American Lung Association (ALA) published a report on the State of the Air, which showed that Maricopa county, where Mesa is located, still experienced some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country.
Mesa’s Efforts to Reduce Air Pollution
However, despite the report’s findings, Mesa has made considerable strides in reducing air pollution over the past decade. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since 2010, Mesa’s air quality has met or exceeded the national standards for six common pollutants, including ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide.
One of the reasons for Mesa’s improving air quality is the steady increase in the use of cleaner fuel and energy sources. The state has encouraged the development of renewable energy, including solar and wind energy, while phasing out the use of coal-fired power plants. Thanks to these efforts, Mesa has seen a significant reduction in carbon emissions in recent years. The city has also invested in public transportation, promoting the use of electric or hybrid-powered buses, reducing the number of cars on the roads, and subsequently the amount of emissions.
Challenges and Solutions
Despite the significant progress made so far, Mesa still faces challenges when it comes to air quality. One of these challenges is the impact of wildfire smoke on the city’s air quality. In the summer months, Mesa can experience severe wildfires in Arizona or other neighboring states, resulting in increased levels of particulate matter pollution. While the city has implemented air quality alerts and advisories to protect people from harmful levels of particulate matter, these wildfires’ impact can be felt even in areas far from the site of the fire.
Another significant contributor to air pollution in Mesa is transportation. Over 80% of Mesa’s residents drive alone to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The high volume of vehicle traffic, especially during rush hour, leads to increased emissions, causing air pollution. Mesa has launched a transportation master plan aiming to make more people use public transportation and bicycle infrastructure as a means of reducing the number of cars on the road.
Mesa’s Rankings in State of the Air Reports
Mesa’s efforts to reduce air pollution have resulted in a gradual but significant improvement in the air quality of the city. The recently created emissions-reduction program to educate the public on ways to reduce air pollution estimated the reduction of over 78,000 kg of pollutants from the air, resulting in improved air quality in the city. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, as Mesa currently ranks as the 26th cleanest city in the United States in the ALA’s 2021 State of the Air report.
Conclusion and Future Plans
In conclusion, Mesa, Arizona, enjoys relatively good air quality compared to many other major cities in the United States. Over the years, the city has made efforts to reduce air pollution by promoting the use of cleaner fuel, investing in public transportation and initiating transportations master plans, and a local emissions-reduction program. These efforts have resulted in gradually but significantly improving the air quality of the city. However, more work remains to be done to address the challenges that continue to threaten Mesa’s air quality. The city should continue to prioritize the use of clean air systems in businesses and educate citizens on the dangers of pollutants and the ways to reduce their carbon footprint to ensure a cleaner and a healthier environment for the community.