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DEQ Dashboard: Air

AirAir Quality

Few things are as important as the air we breathe. Poor air quality increases human illness and mortality. Air pollution also reduces water quality, contributes to climate change, and damages living resources including wildlife, forests, and agriculture.

DEQ works to improve air quality in Virginia by upholding regulations such as the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CAA set national standards for six common air pollutants: particle pollution, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and lead.  These pollutants continue to decrease.

As a result of emission reductions associated with a variety of pollution control programs, reduced emissions transported into Virginia from nearby states, and changes in human behavior such as carpooling, air pollution in Virginia has decreased by more than 50%. Levels of monitored fine particulates have decreased by more than 40%. Levels of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide have dropped significantly, and the average number of high-ozone days statewide has dropped by 89 percent—from a high of 108 days in 1998 to a low of 5 days in 2013. Virginia has also achieved a more modest reduction of carbon dioxide emissions—25 percent—from transition of generation of power from coal to natural gas and renewables. 


Ozone pollution, as measured by the number of days where the standard was exceeded, has dropped significantly in all areas of the state since 1997.


Fine Particle Matter

Pollution from microscopic particles has continued to decrease.


Carbon Emissions

Emissions of carbon dioxide from Virginia power plants has dropped.

Air Pollutants

Major air pollutants emitted from stationary sources (measured at smoke stacks) has decreased significantly.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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