Q&A with Alberto Ayala, Director of Sacramento’s Air Quality District, SacTown Magazine, June 4, 2022

Alberto Ayala discusses “the growing threat of wildfire smoke, the urgent need to move away from fossil fuel engines, the “scary” results from a new study about the impact of air pollution on our brain health, and why we need to rethink transportation as we plan for a better post-pandemic world.”

On transportation:

“I wrote an essay five years ago, in which I pointed out that of the 40 biggest cities in the country, Sacramento and Las Vegas were the only two without any protected bike lanes and with no imminent plans to build them, whereas cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago were racing to build hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes. And now five years later, we’re not much better off. And for reasons I don’t completely understand, the city just has not made that a priority when clearly, active transportation like biking and walking is going to be one of the ways that we move toward cleaner air. . . [and] where is the investment in transit? And how are we helping our public transit be the innovative transit of the future where you actually meet the needs of transportation for people?”

On the difference between ozone pollution and particle pollution:

“In Sacramento, like most urban regions, the most chronically difficult pollution problem is ozone pollution, not so much particle pollution, but clearly wildfires are changing that. Particle pollution is the smoke that you see from something like a wildfire, or the soot that comes out of a diesel truck. That black smoke is essentially a collection of these particles that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Ozone pollution, in contrast, is the result of nitrogen oxide and volatile organic emissions often from the combustion of fossil fuels—fuel that burns in an internal combustion engine like in a gasoline car. In the presence of sunlight, they basically cook up in the atmosphere, and then they lead to ozone, also known as smog. So the difference is here we’re talking about gases, not particles.”

Click here to read the full article.

Join us Thursday Jun 9 at 6 pm for ECOS Climate Committee

What local jurisdictions can do about climate change

Featuring Dr. Alberto Ayala, Director of Sacramento’s Air Quality District


6:00: Welcome and Introductions

6:10: Alberto Ayala, Director of Sacramento’s Air Quality District, will discuss clean air & climate actions.
Alberto Ayala is the Executive Officer of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (AQMD), and former Deputy Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board. Last month, Alberto noted that we are making progress in tackling air and climate pollution, although climate change has exacerbated nearby wildfires and smoke.

The AQMD has been active in several efforts to reduce air pollution — that also reduce our climate change impact. Whether or not we see good Climate Action Plans this summer from Sacramento City and County, these efforts show that local jurisdictions can do a lot to deal with climate change:
• Cool Roofs, Walls, and Pavements
• Trees and Vegetation
• Zero-Emission Vehicles, and Charging Stations
• Solar Photovoltaic Parking Lots
• Infill Development
• Climate Resilience for Under-Served Communities; especially Trees!

Alberto will also discuss health impacts of near-road pollution on under-served communities, and what we’re doing.
[See Alberto’s recent Sactown Magazine interview: www.sactownmag.com/qa-alberto-ayala-sacramento-air-quality]

6:50 Transportation Team Report
John Deeter, Team Chair

7:00: Land Use Committee Report

7:10: Green Building Committee Report

7:20: Transportation Measure for November Ballot & SACOG
7:30: Climate Action Plans

7:45: Adjourn

Click here for the agenda in PDF.

Check Before You Make a Fire!

This Holiday Season, Please Remember to Check Before You Burn

With the cold and frosty winter weather upon us, residents across the Sacramento Region might be thinking about using their fireplace to help keep warm. This holiday season, the Sac Metro Air District asks you to please remember to Check Before You Burn, to make sure wood burning is legal.

From November 1 through the end of February, the District will restrict or prohibit the use of all fireplaces, wood stoves, inserts, fire pits, and chimineas when fine particle pollution (PM2.5) is forecast to be high. The law applies to residents and businesses in Sacramento County and the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova, and Sacramento. Remember, if you observe burning on a day when particulate matter air pollution is forecast to be high, and burning is prohibited, you can anonymously file a complaint here. First time violations will result in either a $50 fine, or the option to take and pass a wood smoke awareness exam. Fines for subsequent violations are higher.

ECOS Board Meeting – Jan 28

You are invited to the ECOS Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 28th, 2020. All are welcome to join.

This month, we’ll have a special presentation by Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) staff on Strategies to Cool the Capital Region, and Community Air Protection.

  • Shelley Jiang will present SMAQMD’s just-completed Capitol Region heat island study: Cool roofs & pavements, tree canopy, electric vehicles, and smart growth can cool us!
  • Ashley Reynolds will discuss their Community Air Protection program, focusing on under-served communities.
  • A Question/Answer session with SMAQMD presenters will follow the presentation


Click here to view the meeting agenda.

More Information

Click here to learn more about SMAQMD’s Community Air Protection Program.

Click here to learn more about the Capital Region Urban Heat Island Mitigation Project.