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Bay Area Air Pollution report Released

Bay Area Air Pollution report Released
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District recently released its 2021 report on air quality. While the findings are limited to Bay Area (the area around San Francisco), the information in the report is valuable and likely applicable to many cities worldwide.

The report investigated various factors and variables, but most interestingly, it looked at the area's most significant sources of air pollution. Perhaps the most interesting finding is that out of the annual fine particle pollution, the biggest contributor was wood smoke which accounted for 21.4% of the annual fine particulate pollution.

After wood smoke, other industrial and commercial processes contributed just over 18%. Following these processes were geological dust, combustion fuel, on-road motor vehicles, wildfires & planned fires, off-road mobile sources, commercial cooking and animal waste.

It is surprising to see combustion fuel so low on this list, as it is typically higher in other regions. However, this discrepancy may be due to the report dividing combustion fuel (stationary sources), on-road motor vehicles and off-road mobile sources. It's also noted that off-road sources include aircraft, ships, trains, and construction equipment.

The report also analyses the sources of annual nitrogen oxide pollution. In this case, 'other mobile sources' (planes, ships, construction equipment, etc.) contributed to over 50% of the pollution. On-road motor vehicles and stationary combustion sources rounded out the next 44.5%, with 'other sources' (industrial and commercial processes other than fuel combustion) contributing only 2.1% of the annual nitrogen oxide pollution.

Both the particulate matter and nitrogen oxide pollution reports show the detrimental impact that fuel combustion has on air quality. Perhaps most interesting, however, is how wood smoke contributes more to annual fine particulate pollution than any other source - at least when fuel combustion is divided into different categories.

If you're interested in reading the full report, we recommend reading it here. The report dives into further details on different aspects of air pollution in the Bay Area, and it's worth a read - whether you are a local or not.
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