2010 April 25: AZ Maricopa County: focuses on air quality

2010 April 25: AZ Maricopa County: focuses on air quality

by Bob McClay/KTAR (April 22nd, 2010 @ 7:24am)

On this Earth Day, a group of Valley leaders is preparing to hit the streets and urge everyone to work together to improve air quality.

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department has named five elected officials to become ambassadors to encouraging cleaner air.

"This ambassador group will help us in education and outreach to all citizens of Maricopa County — just educating them on the simple steps they can take every day to help clean the air," said Holly Ward with the air quality department.

Things like driving less and refueling in the evening, Ward said.

Another help: "Avoid those drive-through lines. It might be a bit more of a hassle to park your car and go inside, but that idling time in your car adds pollution in the air that helps to form ozone."

The Valley’s air is bad and it’s having trouble meeting federal standards, Ward said.

"We’re in trouble for particulate matter — that fine dust pollution that hangs around our Valley skyline. Ozone problems are also very much at the forefront."

While the "brown cloud" that hovers over the Valley is a constant reminder of the bad air, Ward said, "Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that’s hurting us as well. Ozone is a summer-time pollutant. We’re in ozone season right now, but that’s a pollutant you can’t see."

The clean air ambassadors are city councilmen Dennis Brown of Fountain Hills, Tony Nelssen of Scottsdale, Joanne Osborne of Goodyear and Corey Woods of Tempe, along with Maricopa County Supervisors Chairman Don Stapley.

Brown said, "Everybody that we can get the Clean Air Commission in front of, we want to, and we want to do it as sort of a blast to educate the majority of people as to what we’re trying to do."

The county’s goal is to reduce particulate emissions by 5 percent each year until they fall within federal guidelines.

Nelssen said, "Smart growth in Arizona is dependent upon listening to the desires of our citizens and taxpayers and meeting air quality standards that will solidify the future of Arizona."

On the Web:

Tips for cleaner air

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