New NASA images show air quality is improving

San Diego has best air on record in 60 years

SAN DIEGO - New satellite images from NASA show the air we're breathing is actually getting cleaner, thanks in part to cleaner cars and improved power plants.

It's summertime and school is out, which means more people are taking advantage of the outdoors.

While many kids aren't worried about the quality of air they're breathing, parents were surprised to know that the air is a lot cleaner this summer than it's been in nearly a decade.

"On a clear day I can see all the way out to the mountains and that's really beautiful," said San Diegan Devon Boyd.

New images from NASA show how pollution has dropped 40 percent nationwide from 2005 to 2011.

"It's really a technological revolution as we've made improvements in the way we clean our air coming from smoke stacks and power plants and also cleaner cars on the road," NASA scientist Dr. Doug Morton said.

While San Diego doesn't get much smog, the city's air quality has still improved.

The county's Air Pollution Control District has been monitoring the air quality since the agency opened 59 years ago. Director Bob Kard said even though the county has the best air quality on record, everyone must still do their part.

"The big challenge here, frankly, is motor vehicle traffic. About 74 percent of our air pollutants come from things like trucks, cars, buses, planes and ships. We need to work further on reducing those emissions," Kard said.

Kard told 10News tens of millions of dollars in grants has gone to schools and other agencies to replace older vehicles with cleaner ones. Programs like that are why many San Diegans can breathe easier this summer.

"I think that's fantastic news, if we can all do our part to make things a little bit nicer for everybody," San Diegan Leo Miele said.

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