Air Quality and Visibility
While most regulatory standards that relate to air quality are based on the health impacts of air quality, we are also concerned about how air quality affects our ability to enjoy the views of nature from a distance. A variety of pollutants in the air affect visibility through the creation of haze, or smog. Different kinds of particles in the air either absorb or scatter the light, thereby affecting the clarity and colors of what we see. In addition, this pollution works to reduce the distance from which we are able to see features of our environment clearly.
The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality reports that the quality of air in Eastern Pima County, at least with regard to particulates, had been quite good, actually improving relatively recently.
Unfortunately, for financial reasons, the Tucson Urban Haze Monitoring Network, operated by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, was shut down in 2010, and we no longer have the benefit of high quality digital camera monitoring and other sophisticated assessments of visibility in this area. In addition, the reduction in the estimated size of the Tucson Metro Area by the Census Bureau has also meant that near roadside monitoring of other key pollutants will no longer be required to meet Federal regulations.