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2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report - Air Quality


Mecklenburg County overall ambient air quality continues to improve. In 2012, the average annual air quality index (AQI) value for Mecklenburg County was 45, which equates to good air quality. From 2002 to 2012, the average annual AQI has progressed from 64 to 45 - an 27.9% improvement over the period. The two primary contributors to the County's AQI value are particulate matter (PM 2.5) and ozone (O3) and the most significant sources of air pollution are mobile sources. Although PM 2.5 contributes to decreased air quality, the County meets national standards. Mecklenburg County achieved compliance with the 1997 ozone standard but O3 levels violate the 2008 national standard of 0.075 ppm.  view the Air Quality video

Air Quality Environmental Indicators

Air Quality



NOx, SO2,
CO, Lead

  • Continue to comply with the federally mandated, health based ambient ozone standard. Locally generated air emissions, particularly on-road and non-road mobile source emissions, need to be reduced. Federal and state regulations will yield the needed reductions over time; however, local action is needed now if attainment of the ozone and annual particulate matter standards are to be ensured. Actions by business, industry, government and individuals relative to reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled, managing energy demand and making "greener" purchasing decisions must be a part of the local solution to improving Mecklenburg County air quality.
  • Develop and implement new initiatives and new funding sources for regulatory, incentive-based and voluntary programs to reduce the emissions of ozone-forming pollutants from mobile sources. In order to identify and promote programs that will achieve local and regional emission reductions, state legislation is needed to provide dedicated funding to counties for clean air programs targeting mobile sources.
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled by promoting transportation-friendly land development and continuing to support all alternative forms of transportation, including mass transit. The most significant sources of air pollution in Mecklenburg County are mobile sources. Many new pollution reduction efforts at the federal, state, and local levels are focused on highway and off road vehicles. Recent estimates indicate that mobile sources account for considerable amounts of ozone precursor emissions: 51% of the volatile organic compound and 87% of the nitrogen oxide emissions in Mecklenburg County.

What you can do to reduce air pollution in Mecklenburg County.

More information

The trends shown in the State of the Environment Report are not all based on tests of statistical significance. Data analysis, anecdotal evidence, and best professional judgment have been compiled to represent these trends. The State of the Environment Report takes a snapshot of important environmental indicators in an effort to educate the public while highlighting challenges, successes and the general direction of change for each indicator. For additional information on these indicators and the determination of trends, please follow the links and feel free to contact the appropriate resources.

Last updated 2/20/14

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