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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 14 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Plano air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Saturday, Dec 2|
Good 17 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Good 11 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Good 11 AQI US
Good 14 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Good 20 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Good 24 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Good 27 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Good 33 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Good 6 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Good 6 AQI US
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Plano is a city located in Colin County and Denton County of Texas. It is also included within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, a cultural and economic hub in Texas that contains within it 11 different counties.
Looking at the air pollution levels present in Plano, it can be seen that in mid-2021, the city came in with an appreciable level of air quality. In the late days of June, a US AQI reading of 19 was recorded, placing the city into the 'good' air quality ratings bracket. This requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 0 to 50 to be classified as such, and is the best air quality rating available, carrying with it an indication that there are low levels of smoke, haze, smog or other air contaminants present in the atmosphere. A 'good' air quality reading is color coded as green, for ease of navigation across the various air quality maps, graphs and forecast lists present on this page and throughout the IQAir website.
When the air quality level is counted as 'good', both the general public as well as those that have pre-existing health conditions (particularly of the cardiac or pulmonary variety) will still be free to carry out their day to day activities, with little worry of any form of aggravation or respiratory irritation. However, despite presenting with an optimal level of air quality in late June, Plano can also have sudden elevations in its air pollution levels. Whilst these are not overtly large or dangerous, they may still carry with them many adverse health effects, particularly when people who belong to vulnerable groups are subject to excessive or long term exposure.
Those who are considered part of this vulnerable demographic are groups of people such as young children and babies, along with the elderly. The pervasive nature of pollution, particularly the finer particles (PM2.5) can have a highly detrimental effect on those who are exposed to them, triggering off health conditions in younger children such as asthma or skin rashes, which if left unchecked can turn into life long conditions. Others include those with a hypersensitivity towards pollution, compromised immune systems, along with the aforementioned sufferers of pre-existing health conditions.
Looking at some further readings of US AQI that were taken over the course of both May and June of 2021, it can be seen that higher numbers were also on record, going outside of the 'good' ratings bracket and up into the 'moderate' one, which requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 51 to 100 to be classified as such.
These figures were 61, 72 and 80, going up into the higher end of the 'moderate' ratings bracket. Whilst the general public as a whole may remain largely unaffected by such elevations, those with respiratory conditions may start to experience some form of irritation. At the time in which the above mentioned US AQI reading of 19 was taken, the PM2.5 concentration was found to not be in excess of the world health organization's (WHO's) exposure recommendation. This is of particular importance due to the highly dangerous nature of PM2.5, being one of the most harmful forms of pollution that can be found in the air. It is a mix of different materials and can be comprised of soot, dust, microplastics or rubbers, sulphates, nitrates and metals.
Due to its extremely small size of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, it is able to penetrate deep into the tissue of the lungs upon inhalation, causing inflammation, scarring of the lung tissue as well as being able to pass into the bloodstream via the alveoli, or small air sacs responsible for the absorption of oxygen. Once in the bloodstream it can cause all manner of health effects to occur, with cancer, ischemic heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and even death all being possible.
Referring back to the air quality in Plano, in regards to its PM2.5 level that was recorded over the course of 2020, the city came in with a yearly average reading of 10.6 μg/m³. This placed it into the 'good' air quality ratings bracket, which when taken by PM2.5 standards, requires a reading of anywhere between 10 to 12 μg/m³ to be classified as such, one with a very fine margin of entry.
In contrast to the US AQI reading, PM2.5 is measured in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m³). The 2020 reading of 10.6 μg/m³ also placed Plano in 2295th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as in 9th place for all cities ranked in Texas over the same year. Whilst none of the months on record show any significant leaps in air pollution, it must be noted that certain events such as wildfires, both naturally occurring and manmade ones, can cause large elevations in PM2.5 readings, which can affect cities many miles away from their original sources. Other polluting events are ones such as meteorological conditions that can aid in the buildup of pollution (such as lack of prevailing wind and rain to blow away or tamp down larger polluting particles), and as such, hourly air quality readings should be monitored closely.
This is particularly helpful for those that have health conditions that require them to keep their pollution exposure to a minimum. Such air quality readings, as well as forecasts for following days, can be followed via the information provided on this page, as well as on the AirVisual app. In closing, Plano is a city that overall has a good level of air quality, but may be subject to mild elevations in its pollution levels, the reasons as to why being discussed in further detail in the following questions.
Causes of air pollution that occur in Plano are also ones that afflict Texas as a whole, although to a lesser extent than some of the more polluted cities in the state such as Longview or South Padre Island. These sources of air pollution include ones such as exhaust fumes and emissions given off by the variety of vehicles on the road. Whilst Plano has a population of some 287,000 inhabitants (estimated), which in of itself is already a high number, there would be numerous freight vehicles passing in and out of the city for commercial and transportation based reasons, with ones such as trucks, lorries and buses making their way through the roads and highways.
These vehicles can release a large amount of chemical pollutants, along with fine particles that can cause all manner of damage to the environment and the health of those who are exposed. Larger freight vehicles run on diesel fuel much more often, and with the combustion of this fossil fuel comes a larger amount of pollution being released, considerably more than that of a more sustainable vehicle (ultra-low emission vehicle, or electric cars), or fuel sources that release less contaminants upon combustion.
Besides the pollution generated from fuel combustion and exhaust fumes, vehicles can also churn out many tons of microscopic rubber particles into the environment from the residual wear and tear of tires. This can lead to large amounts of said particles gathering on the topsoil or bodies of water whereby it can enter the food chain (eventually making its way to humans, with results that are yet to be fully understood but will no doubt carry a large amount of negative health effects), along with entering the air in the form of ultrafine particles, making breathing it a high possibility, particularly for people who live near areas that see a higher volume of traffic.
Other sources of pollution include dust blown in from roads and rural areas, along with construction sites and road repairs also adding to this fine particle collective. Furthermore, one of the larger concerns regarding air pollution throughout Texas as a whole are factories, power plants and other similar industrial areas, all of which give out large amounts of pollution from the further combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, diesel and natural gas.
The cold spell that hit certain parts of Texas particularly hard in early 2020 caused huge volumes of extra pollution to be released from a number of these sites, particularly those located in Houston. Whilst not on the same level as the amount of pollution released during this spell, Plano would still see much of its pollution being generated from industrial facilities, with the aforementioned factors all combining to create elevated levels of PM2.5 and other chemical pollutants.
The pollutants that would be found in the air in Plano would include those that go into making up the US AQI aggregate. The reading of US AQI is formed from the calculation of the main pollutants found in the air, which are nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), along with carbon monoxide and the two forms of fine particles, PM2.5 and PM10 (with the former being the far more dangerous of the two).
Other pollutants would include ones such as finely ground sand, silica and gravel particles, along with heavy metals such as lead and mercury that can be released from construction sites or various combustion sources. Others include black carbon (the main component in soot), as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Some examples of VOCs include styrene, methylene chloride, benzene and formaldehyde, and they also make up some of the biggest offenders of indoor pollution, being released from materials such as glues, varnished woods and surfaces, cosmetic products, along with paints or scented candles releasing them.
Whilst there were no serious pollution elevations seen in Plano over the course of 2020, along with 2021 also showing signs of good air quality as was mentioned in the first question, there was however a period of time in which the air quality levels became somewhat less optimal. The months of January through to April (with the exception of February, which showed a more optimal level of air quality), as well as August through to December all came in with slightly higher readings of PM2.5.
Every one of these months fell within the 'good' air quality ratings bracket, one which requires a very fine margin of entry, and as mentioned, is by no means lacking in air cleanliness. However, it still stands that further improvements could be made, with Plano sitting considerably higher on the global ranking than many other cities throughout the United States.
The readings that were taken were 11.9 μg/m³ for January, 11.6 μg/m³ for March and 11.4 μg/m³ for April, along with 10.7 μg/m³, 11.1 μg/m³, 11.3 μg/m³, 11.7 μg/m³ and 11.4 μg/m³ for August through to November respectively.
This was indicative that whilst Plano escaped from the scenario whereby one or two months out of the year see significantly larger elevations in its pollution levels, it instead saw more of an ambient, year round rise in pollution, having consistent readings that came in with very similar numbers.
Out of all the above mentioned months, January was the most polluted, with its reading of 11.9 putting it only 0.2 units away from being moved up into the next pollution ratings bracket, that of the 'moderate' ratings one, which requires a reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.
Observing the PM2.5 levels once again on record from 2020, it can be seen that Plano had its most optimal levels of air pollution during the months of February, as well as May through to July. Their respective readings were 9.2 μg/m³, 8.4 μg/m³, 9.7 μg/m³ and 8.9 μg/m³.
This placed May as the cleanest month of the year with its reading of 8.4 μg/m³, within the WHO's target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less for the best or most optimal level of air quality. Pollution levels that fall into this bracket have a considerably lower chance of causing adverse health effects, indicating a time in which the air is significantly freer from particles, smoke, haze and other polluting elements.
The WHO's air quality rating is color coded as blue, and is the best level of air quality that a city, state or country can hope to achieve. 2020 saw four of its months come in with this rating, whilst the others all fell into the 'good' ratings bracket, as was mentioned above.