Air quality in San Antonio and the region has been worsening for several years. Before 2005, Bexar County’s average daily air quality measure far exceeded the state measure. By 2008, the county’s level of fine particulate matter in the air had decreased to 9.1 micrograms per cubic meter. This level was lower than the state’s 10.2 micrograms, but higher than the national benchmark of 8.8. SA2020 put forth a goal of reducing ozone by 16%. However, our current ozone levels are above the standard. The City of San Antonio maintains and enforces a pollution control ordinance to address urban air quality. It’s also monitored and governed by the Federal Clean Air Act, which requires states to meet national ambient air quality standards. States must develop plans to achieve and maintain acceptable levels in all areas, and develop specific plans and implement additional programs for those areas designated as not meeting the standard.

There are many steps we can take to improve air quality, especially for car and truck emissions: we can preserve and expand the city’s tree canopy to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or enhance programs and policies such as incentives for electric and hybrid cars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We can also provide incentives to increase the amount of local renewable energy production. We can develop strategies to increase bicycling, walking and transit ridership. And we can develop new and utilize existing public/private partnership programs to monitor air quality to see how well we’re doing.