Motor vehicle travel, industrial activities, land development patterns and meteorological conditions affect air quality in the Tucson region. With the region’s population about 1 million, maintaining healthy air, understanding primary causes of air pollution and initiating steps to curb pollution has become more important.
Currently, the Tucson region meets federal air quality standards. However, three pollutants of continuing concern are carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone and particulate matter.
National regulatory standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to comply with the federal Clean Air Act help maintain healthy air conditions in the United States. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, regulate six common air pollutants: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter.
The Clean Air Act also addresses the need to maintain clean air in protected natural areas such as wilderness areas, national parks and forests surrounding Tucson. Failure to meet these requirements can result in economic sanctions and/or civil lawsuits.