Air Quality Awareness
Know What You’re Breathing
The quality of air we breathe, inside and out, can have a major impact on our health and the health of the natural environment. Genesee County is committed to educating the community about air quality awareness and making improvements towards a healthier population. This page provides resources to help you improve air quality in your community.
Air Quality Index (AQI) is used to measure levels of pollution in the air. Higher AQI readings indicate higher levels of dangerous pollutants affecting the air we breathe. This is the main contributor to hazardous air quality days. Due to this, the EPA recommends postponing outdoor activities on days where the AQI is above 50.
Click here to learn AQI Basics
Genesee County has an average AQI of 49 which falls under the “GOOD” air quality index category. View the air quality of Genesee County in real time with this handy tool!
The impact on air quality is an important component of GCMPC’s transportation planning program. The Clean Air Act (CAA) ensures that local transportation projects align with Michigan’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) and will meet federal air quality standards. Currently, Genesee County is considered a low maintenance plan area which is an area that is not required to conduct emission modeling for air quality conformity. In other words, Genesee County is in attainment and is meeting or is cleaner than national air quality standards.
Although Genesee County is in attainment, staff recognize that air quality is an important environmental topic that people generally do not consider how they may be impacting on a day-to-day basis. Due to this, staff decided to start an air quality awareness program that brings attention to local air quality and what Genesee County residents can do to enhance it in our community. In 2021, the Genesee County Air Quality Awareness program began, and staff are now working to expand outreach and education around this important issue.
Click to view GCMPC’s Transportation Program Air Quality Analysis
Click to view Michigan's Current Nonattainment Counties
According to the EPA, there are six major pollutants that can have an impact on your health:
- Carbon Monoxide: Forms from gasoline fueled vehicles and other on-road and non-road mobile sources.
- Lead: Forms from industrial sources, such as smelting, battery recycling operations, and small aircrafts that use leaded aviation gasoline.
- Nitrogen Dioxide: Emitted by cars, trucks, buses, power plants, and non-road engines and equipment.
- Ozone: Forms from fuel combustion in motor vehicles, pollutants emitted from industrial facilities, or by-products of electric utilities mixing with sunlight.
- Particulate Matter: Forms from man-made stationary and mobile sources, forest fires, and transformations of gaseous emissions. Is categorized by size, with the smallest size being the most harmful.
- Sulfur Dioxide: Forms from fossil fuel combustion by electrical utilities and industrial burning.
For more information, visit: Criteria Air Pollutants | US EPA
When we are exposed to high levels of air pollutants for extended periods of time, there is an increased risk of developing respiratory diseases or other complications. These complications may include:
Air Quality Health Stats:
- 9 out of 10 people breathe unhealthy air
- 40% of the world’s population suffers from chronic allergic respiratory diseases caused by air pollution
- 95% of the world population are exposed to levels of particulate matter that exceeds the WHO recommended limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter
- A long term study found an association between lung cancer and an increased reliance on coal for energy generation
- All but two of the twenty five worst cities for short term particle pollution are in the western United States
- Approximately 6 million children in the United States have asthma and are vulnerable to air pollution
- Children who play several outdoor sports and live in high ozone communities are more likely to develop asthma
- Reductions in particulate matter concentrations were correlated with significant increases in life expectancy
- Wildfire smoke accounts for 25% of dangerous air pollution in the United States
Monitor the Air Quality of the United States
The EnviroFlash tool allows users to monitor the air quality of different places across the United States. Through a partnership between local air quality agencies and the EPA, users can sign up to receive instant air quality notifications sent to their email or cell phone. Sign up by clicking the image below or using this link: EnviroFlash - Home
Everyday Tips to Improve Air Quality
By making small changes in your lifestyle, you can help lessen the emissions that are produced daily. Do this by implementing energy saving methods, such as, turning off the lights when you leave a room, filling up your gas tank in the morning or at night, and cutting back on single use plastics. See the infographic below for some more simple daily tips!
Passenger vehicles contribute to 26% of all man-made greenhouse gases. Carpool and Vanpool services aim to minimize the harmful emissions that come from burning of fossil fuels through reducing the amount of individual drivers on the road.
By signing up for one of these programs, Genesee County residents can lower pollution levels by decreasing individual miles traveled and conserve non-renewable resources. Together we can encourage positive changes to the way we use transportation and limit the amount of fossil fuels burned each year.
Visit the following page to learn more: www.gcmpc.org/rideshare
Air Pollution for Kids
Air Pollution 101
Air Quality Awareness Links:
- Criteria Air Pollutants | US EPA
- Do you think about air quality? | NCEH | CDC
- Taking On Climate Change At Home: How You Can Cut Carbon Emissions
- United Nations Environment Program
- Why Air Quality Is Important
Government Air Quality Links:
- Battle Creek Area Transportation Study
- Grand Valley Metro Council
- Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
- Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
- Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
- Tri-County Regional Planning Commission
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- West Michigan Clean Air Coalition
- West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission
Public Transit Links:
Walking and Biking Trail Links: