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Austin experienced 'elevated air pollution' for nearly 1/3 of 2020, report says

The only Texas cities with more days of elevated air pollution were Brownsville (129 days) and El Paso (126 days).

AUSTIN, Texas — According to a collaborated report from the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group and TexPIRG Education Fund, the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown metro area experienced 103 days of elevated air pollution in 2020 – just above 29% of the calendar year.

The report says that the area – which is home to nearly 2.2 million people – had 22 days of "elevated levels of ozone" and "84 days of elevated levels of small particulate matter," totaling for 103 days of one or the other. The report stated that Austin had the third most days for any Texas city. Only Brownsville (129 days) and El Paso (126 days) had more, according to the report. 

“Even one day of breathing in polluted air has negative consequences for our health,” said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas. “103 days is unacceptable and we need to do more to deliver cleaner air for our communities.” 

Despite only recording 22 days of elevated ozone levels, the report estimates that Austin's tally was likely undercounted because the “CAMS 3” ozone monitor – previously located at Murchison Middle School and the region’s primary ozone monitor – was offline for the majority of the year due to construction at the school.

“Our future can truly be better and healthier if we clean up our air,” Metzger said. “Zeroing out pollution from all aspects of our lives will protect our lungs and our climate at the same time.”

For a full look at the report, click here.

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