Those of us who live in Bakersfield, Kern County, and elsewhere in the San Joaquin Valley may not agree on everything, but, one thing we all seem to agree on is that the quality of the air that we breathe everyday is bad - real bad.
What many people may not know or appreciate, however, is where most of that air pollution originates. The average person probably believes that most of the smog we see nearly all year long comes from factories, refineries, oil field equipment, or other industrial sources. Others believe that most of the pollution drifts over into the Valley from the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles.
However, when the experts in air pollution analyze the data, they come up with a much different picture. That picture shows that industrial sources are a much smaller proportion of the total than most people realize. Additionally, although approximately 27 percent of the total air pollution in the northern portion of the District comes from the San Francisco Bay Area, the percentage drops to eleven percent in the central portion, and nine percent in the southern portion.
So what are the largest sources of air pollution? According to the San Joaquin Valley APCD, the emission inventory can be broken down into the following five categories of air pollution sources, with the percentage each contributes to overall totals shown as well.