Sustainability

Air Quality

Air quality is crucial to the well-being of a region’s residents. It is a particularly important health concern to those who have sensitivity to air pollution due to respiratory or other chronic lung conditions.

Air pollution challenges stemming from motor vehicles, construction dust and debris, and commercial and industrial enterprises, have grown in proportion to the population and economic growth in the valley. The region’s geography presents a unique problem in terms of maintaining high air quality: Surrounding mountains trap pollutants in our valley’s air, such as ozone and particulate matter.

Source: Clark County Department of Air Quality

Source: Clark County Department of Air Quality

Region's air quality improves in 2019

Southern Nevada's air quality was rated "good" 42.2 percent of the time in 2019, the highest mark for the region since 2015.  Overall, 99 percent of days in 2019 were either rated as "good" or "moderate," which are deemed as satisfactory by the EPA (see chart at right), a high mark for the region since 2012. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), during days that air quality conditions are rated as "good," levels of air pollutants pose little to no risk to health. A “moderate” rating is considered acceptable, but for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people.

Southern Nevada’s “good” rate put it near the top of the pack in 2019 when comparing with other southwestern U.S. metropolitan areas, according to data published by the University of Arizona. The region’s 42.2 percent was on par with Albuquerque (44.1 percent) and Salt Lake City (46.6 percent), well ahead of peer regions Phoenix (13.7 percent), San Diego (23.8 percent) and Denver (24.9 percent).

Southern Nevada's air quality has remained relatively consistent, with roughly 40 percent of days each year rated as "good" and 95 percent categorized as "good" or "moderate." The exception was in 2018, when with only 34 percent of days each year rated as “good” and 87 percent were categorized as “good” or “moderate.”