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Why Is the Air So Dirty?
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Did you know...
California has the cleanest industries, the cleanest utilities, the lowest car tailpipe emissions... yet still has the dirtiest air in the nation!

View of Central Valley

Click on a choice:

  Air Transport Corridors

  Pollution Sources

  Criteria Pollutants

  Meteorology

  Visibility

  Acid Rain/Snow

The activities of 35 million Californians produce a lot of air pollution. Cars and trucks are the biggest source, but many other products and industrial processes also release harmful chemicals into the air. If you live in or visit California, you contribute to the state's dirty air. California's terrain and weather add to the problem.
If you live in or visit California, you contribute to the state's dirty air
The San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, and the Los Angeles region are all ringed by mountains that trap the pollution. During the summer, layers of warmer air in the upper atmosphere put a lid over these areas. Under the hot sunlight, pollutants react to form ozone (the main ingredient of smog) as well as hazardous microscopic particles.

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