What is this indicator?

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency that measures and reports air quality in and around the urban areas of Los Angeles County. Santa Monica’s air quality is monitored by the Northwest Coastal L.A. County site (see map of SCAQMD monitoring site). This target is measured by the number of days with ozone levels exceeding current Federal standards. In 2014, the Federal standards changed from .075 parts per million (ppm) during an eight-hour period to .07 parts per million (ppm).

Why it is important?

The South Coast Air Basin including Los Angeles County is frequently cited as one of the regions with the worst air quality in the country. This is due primarily to the transportation sector and high concentrations of industrial and commercial operations, in addition to the presence of mountain ranges trapping noxious gases inland. Though Santa Monica is located on the coast, the region is still subject to high emissions levels and poor air quality that can cause health risks such as asthma, particularly among children.
Ozone concentrations contribute to urban smog and are particularly high on hot days.

How are we doing?

In 2018, the Northwest Coastal L.A. County area reported two days where 8-hour average ozone concentration surpassed the .07 ppm threshold. The 2020 target is zero days of unhealthy ozone levels.
The 2018 Air Quality Report from California’s Air Pollution Control Officers documents an ongoing trend toward cleaner air, though the drought and other factors pose additional concerns that should continue to be monitored.

How can I help?

The quality of the air we breathe is linked to almost all aspects of our daily lives. Energy conservation is a key to reducing air pollution because air pollution is created anytime energy is burned. So, choosing to take your car for short errands instead of walking or biking; or, forgetting to turn off your lights—all contributes to air pollution.

  • Simple actions to reduce our consumption of energy and resources also go a long way to improving air quality.
  • Turn off lights and appliances when not in use to save energy.
  • Conserve water to help save energy which in turn helps to clean the air.
  • Drive less. Walk, bike, and bus more.
  • Switch to an alternative fuel car – there are so many choices now -- electric, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, or cng.
  • Go solar.
  • Reuse and recycle.
  • For more tips on how to improve our air and everyone's quality of life, check out this video, "Do One Thing ".