AUSTIN (KXAN) — Air. A requirement for every human, plant and animal on Earth. And while many may overlook the importance of the boundless gas we breathe in day-to-day, the essentialness of it, and its quality, cannot be ignored.

During the week of May 1 through May 5, the Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Forest Service, U.S. National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of State, will kick off a series aimed at promoting the benefits of good air quality and the problems that may arise without it.

This year’s theme is “Working Together for Clean Air”.

Each day will feature a different topic:

  • Monday, May 1  – Wildfires and Smoke
  • Tuesday, May 2  – Asthma and Your Health
  • Wednesday, May 3  – Air Quality and Transportation
  • Thursday, May 4  – Air Quality and Climate
  • Friday, May 5 – Participatory Science

Below is a look at Meteorologist Kristen Currie’s coverage of each topic:

Local Awareness

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, is the primary regulator of our region’s air quality. In partnership with agencies like the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG), Austin Audubon Society and St. Edwards University, the Austin-metro area has close to a dozen air quality monitoring sites.

TCEQ’s air quality monitors in the Austin-metro. For an interactive map, click here.

TCEQ is the agency responsible for reporting air quality levels to the EPA in an effort to meet federal standards. The commission is also in charge of declaring Ozone Action Days, or days when conditions are favorable for elevated levels of ozone in the Austin-metro area.

Other organizations like Clean Air Force of Central Texas also help promote air quality through public education, improvement programs and planning for the private sector.

Learn more about the Clean Air Force of Central Texas here.

Past coverage of Air Quality Awareness Week

Look back at KXAN’s past coverage of Air Quality Awareness Week:

Stay with KXAN for Air Quality Awareness Week 2023.