Major cities deal with high levels of pollution from traffic, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. Often times, the more populated the city, the worse the pollution problem.
China is well known for its toxic haze that blankets its populous cities in winter. In the United States, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, California have some of the highest levels of ozone pollution in the country.
There are mandates for recommended levels of pollution, and research has found that exposure to pollution can adversely affect cardiovascular and respiratory health.
Sometimes geographic location aggravates haze and pollution, making prime conditions for smog to hover over an area without anywhere to go.
This is commonly experienced in Phoenix, Arizona, which rang in the new year with dangerous air pollution levels and a pollution advisory still in effect.
Air quality is hazardous if the air quality index goes higher than 301, and on New Year’s Day in the Phoenix metro area it was 283.
As it stands in Phoenix, residents have been told to limit outdoor time and exposure to decrease health risks.
Phoenix has dealt with high pollution advisories before, and its location is partly why the problem is so lingering.
A meteorologist in Phoenix spoke with AZCentral News explaining the causes of the pollution.
“We set up this kind of situation where you can’t get pollution out of the valley,” said Mark O’Malley, a meteorologist with National Weather Service. “Being in the valley, it acts like a bowl, smoke just oscillates.”
The holiday season also contributed to Phoenix’s current pollution advisory as fires and wood burning are popular in the area during this time of year.
The pollution will clear eventually, but it will take some time.