LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's National Air Quality Awareness Week!
More people and more cars on the road here in Las Vegas is leading to more pollution in our air.
The American Lung Association gave Clark County an “F” grade. Las Vegas ranks in the top 15 cities most polluted by ozone and in the top 25 by short-term particle pollution.
All of this can greatly affect your health. Manager of Clean Air Advocacy for the American Lung Association Melissa Ramos tells us poor air quality can lead to "Worsening asthma attacks, chest tightness, difficulty breathing and coughing. It can increase your susceptibility to respiratory infections. Particle pollution, in particular, has been linked to lung cancer and premature death."
Nevada continues to experience some of the most significant air quality challenges across the country. A big problem is we lack substantial rain to help clear pollution.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jenn Varian says, "Unfortunately here in Las Vegas, our average annual rainfall is 4.19 inches of rain so we can’t really rely on that. We sort of have more negative impacts."
Winds can kick up dust. Lightning can start wildfires.
"High pressure that really cooks ozone and pollutants in the air and prevents it from leaving the valley," says Varian.
There are ways we can do our part to improve our air.
"The best thing we can do is prevent poor air quality. One way you can do that is preventing wildfires. If it is a windy day, try not to recreate with sparks. So no campfires or fireworks," said Varian.
Even what we drive and how much we drive can affect our air quality.
"There is a lot that can be done to improve air quality. Especially in Nevada. In Nevada, the most significant contributor to air pollution is our transportation. It’s critical that we start transitioning away from fossil fuel sources," says Ramos
There are more than 3 million people in Nevada. That’s more than 3 million people at risk.
The Las Vegas Urban League’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program educates families on how they can protect themselves.
A clinic coordinator for Las Vegas Urban League advises: "I tell my parents to change your air filter like you would pay your rent. So every 30 days. Check the air quality on a daily basis. It’s very good information and will allow you and your kids stay safe."
EXTRA: Daily Debrief with Jason Dinant and Bree Guy
National Air Quality Awareness Week is May 3-7. Each day will focus on different topics related to air quality. You can find more information here.