NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield has the fourth worst air quality amongst US metros of 500,000 residents or more

Posted at 4:55 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 19:56:25-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — An analysis of median Airy Quality Index values for 2019 by Filterbuy found that the Bakersfield metropolitan area reported 119 days of healthy air quality, with 95 days of unhealthy or hazardous air quality, this study in comparison to other metropolitan areas revealed that Bakersfield has the 4th worst air quality out of all U.S. metros with at least 500,000 residents.

The data collected for Bakersfield is as follows:

Median Air Quality Index for 2019: 67
Good days: 119
Moderate days: 151
Unhealthy or hazardous days: 95
Maximum Air Quality Index observed in 2019: 548

Higher AQI values indicate that an area experiences higher pollution levels and lower air quality.

According to data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency, prior to COVID-19, one in four Americans lived in counties with poor air quality,

While COVID-19 brought lockdowns that resulted in better air quality due to decreased commercial activity and car traffic, the recent surge of fires has the ability to quickly reverse this trend, once again exposing Americans to poor air quality.

Ozone-related pollutants are the most common cause of poor air quality, many Americans are also exposed to a variety of other common pollutants such as particle pollutants, sulfur dioxide, and lead.

Through the passage of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. has seen improvement in air quality and a decline in the emissions of common pollutants since 1970. CO2 emissions have also shown small declines since 2010.

Still, air quality in many areas, especially in the Western U.S., does not meet national standards.

To monitor the state of Bakersfield's air quality, check here.