Butte County Air Quality Management District
629 Entler Avenue, Suite 15
Chico, CA 95928
(530) 332-9400

Clean Air Facts

Where does air pollution come from?

Most of the air pollution (about 70%) in our area comes from all the cars and trucks driving around your town and highway.  Other sources of air pollution are from businesses, residential outdoor and indoor burning, agricultural burning, and industries.



How is air pollution formed?

Pollution can form when different pollutants combine and react together in the sunlight.  They "cook" in the hot summer sun. This is called ground-level ozone.  It mainly comes from vehicle exhaust, but can also come from lawn mowers, tractors, chainsaws, motor boats, water and ski dos.  Ground-level ozone is unhealthy for us to breathe into our lungs.


A thin layer of gases that surrounds the earth, called the ozone layer, also causes pollution.  The earth's atmosphere is mostly made up of nitrogen and oxygen.  It also has water droplets, fine particles, and small amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and other gases.  Some of these have been in our atmosphere for millions of years, coming naturally from volcanoes and forest fires.  Today, humans are the main reason for air pollution.  We can see the results from humans in smog over our cities.



Is air pollution a problem where we live?

Yes, some of the time. We live in a valley that is surrounded by mountains on both sides, so the area we live in is shaped like a bowl.  Air pollution gets trapped in the bowl on hot summer days and cold winter days when the air is not moving. When this happens, pollution can build up. After several days, our air can be unhealthy to breath. The air will stay like this until the wind finally blows it away.




Why do we need cleaner air?

Even healthy people can feel the effects of air pollution (itchy eyes, sore throats, and shortness of breath).  Kids, like you, whose lungs are still growing, can be affected more than adults!  Air pollution makes your heart and lungs work harder to get oxygen into your body.  It can even make your lungs age faster, so that as you get older, you'll have a hard time breathing.  Air pollution can also contribute to diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, and cancer.  So it's important for everyone to fight air pollution whenever they can!



How can I help?

There are many things you can do in your every life that can help stop air pollution.

  1. Ride your bike
  2. Walk
  3. Carpool with a friend, or take the bus
  4. Skating or Skateboarding
  5. Turn off the lights when you leave the room
  6. Share the information you have learned with family & friends
  7. Speak out for clean air
  8. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
  9. Don't burn trash in your fireplace
  10. Join the Clean Air Kids Club!


Classroom Visits

The AQMD can come to your classroom to talk about clean air!  The length and content of the presentation can be adjusted for the level and type of class you have.  It can include:

  • A brief presentation on air pollution
  • Clean Air Tips
  • Think Earth Environmental Education Program for grades K-6
  • Demonstration of our gas-electric hybrid vehicle

For more information, contact Armen Kamian at (530) 332-9400 x108 or