Why Is It Important?
Citizens are concerned about the quality of the air they breathe. Degraded air quality, high in pollutants, reduces quality of life and presents health and safety concerns. Poor air quality can reduce engagement in outdoor activities and long-term exposure may create health problems.
What Is Measured?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has two air quality monitoring sites in Polk County (both are in the Lakeland urban area). These stations sample the air for six major pollutants including carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide.
How Is It Measured?
FDEP performs daily air quality sampling and analysis to calculate the daily air quality index score (AQI). The AQI is a single scale value that relates to pollutant levels and the associated health effects of the pollutant levels.
Polk County uses the AQI report to evaluate air quality by comparing the average number of good days and unhealthy days in the past five years to the same in the current year. An improvement in air quality is considered an increase in the number of days by 10 percent or more and is shown as green on the indicator. Declining air quality is considered a decrease in the number of days by 10 percent or more and is shown as red on the indicator. Maintaining air quality, shown as yellow, is indicated as a change in a day in the current year that is within +/- 10 percent of the five year average.
This measure is updated annually during the 1st quarter of the calendar year, as data is available.
How Is Polk Performing?
Air quality in Polk County declined 3 percent from the 5 year average of 303 to 295 good days in 2017. This decline is within +/-10% of the 5-year average and is indicated by yellow as maintaining air quality. Green would represent an improvement that exceeds 10 percent. Red would be a decline greater than 10 percent.