GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A new study reports more than 70 million Americans experienced over 100 days of degraded air quality in 2016. Mesa County is no exception. In fact, we are near the top of Colorado's list, with 86 days of degraded air quality.
A nationwide study released from Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center ranked communities on how many "dirty air days" different places experienced in 2016. For Colorado, Fort Collins has the most, with over 121 days of degraded air quality. Then comes the Denver, Aurora and Lakewood area with 98 days. Colorado Springs is close with 95 days of dirty air. Grand Junction and Durango are tied in fourth with 86 days in 2016.
Those behind the study said air quality has a huge impact on our health, from worsening asthma to premature death. "We are in a bowl, and we have the examples of what can happen in Denver and in Salt Lake City if we don't pay attention to air quality. We're heading down that same path, we have an opportunity to do something about that," said Kristin Winn of Citizens for Clean Air.
Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed an executive order, which hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by the year 2025 through low-emission vehicle standards. "Colorado last week, actually became one of the first interior states to begin the process of enforcing their own clean car standards," said Emily Struzenberg, a climate change organizer with Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center.
There are ways you can check our air quality everyday. Citizens for Clean Air now has 25 air quality monitors from Palisade to Fruita, so you can see what it is like outside before you head for a run or go for a hike. To check on the monitors, visit purpleair.com.