San Antonio campaign asks residents to reduce air pollution: ‘Breathe Today. SA Tomorrow.’

The City of San Antonio is kicking off its “Breathe Today. SA Tomorrow.” air quality public education campaign to encourage businesses and residents to help reduce air pollution. The campaign will include blogger meet-ups, media outreach, neighborhood events, industry roundtables, social media postings and print and digital advertising.

“Everyone has a role to play regarding our air quality,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick, “and this is a message we want people to understand and take action on to help us maintain clean air.”

For tips on what individuals can do to help improve air quality, click here.

The air quality awareness campaign, will run through September 2017, in preparation for October’s “non-attainment” or a “smog city” designation given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, that designation would be listed as a marginal rating, the lowest level of federal regulation for ozone (smog) emissions, compared to a moderate or severe nonattainment rating.

“Air quality is a priority for San Antonio because of its impact on our community’s health and economy,” said Melnick. “Regardless of whether we will be designated as non-attainment or not, we want to continue to make improvements with our air quality, so that our residents have clean air to breathe and live in a resilient community.”

In October 2015, the EPA released a more stringent, health-based air pollution standard of 70 parts per billion (ppb) of ground level, ozone emissions. Bexar County’s air quality is at 73 parts per billion. Groundlevel ozone is created from emissions from various sources such as industrial facilities, motor vehicle exhaust and gasoline fumes in the presence of sunlight.

“Our goal is to educate the many stakeholders in our 13-county region so that we are prepared to address a higher level of regulatory compliance that would be mandated with such a designation,” said Roger Arriaga, AACOG’s Director of Natural Resources.