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Ranking of areas with best air quality revealing for regions of the Southwest

Three areas in the American southwest represent the best and worst in air quality according to a new report.

Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency, SmartSurvey scored areas using 12 factors to rate air quality, including the number of good and bad days, and average pollution measures.

The worst air quality was recorded in California’s “inland empire” which includes Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ontario. The survey found the area had only 54 good air days in 2023, and 59 alerted unhealthy days.

Researchers say it is unusual to see worse air quality in a California location than the more populous Greater Los Angeles area.

Data collection expert Mo Naser says “it is speculated that natural wind patterns on the coast transport harmful aerosols from LA” where they are trapped in the more mountainous regions of the Inland Empire.

The second and third worst regions for air quality were Greater Houston and Albuquerque.

Coming in at 6th in the nation for worst air quality was El Centro, California.

The Phoenix metro area ranked 11th worst. Yuma ranked 41st.

Topping the list of regions with the best air quality was Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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