Air Quality

Prince George’s County leads the way in many efforts to reduce air pollution while alerting employees and citizens to the potential health risks of ground-level ozone and particulate matter. The county is a member of the Clean Air Partners, a public-private partnership aimed at increasing public information about the region’s air pollution problems.


The county’s air quality procedure is standard operating procedures that outline the actions that must be taken by various county agencies whenever a code red or code yellow air quality alert is issued by Clean Air Partners. This operating procedure is updated annually to capture staff and responsibility changes within the county’s agencies.

Regional Ambient Pollutants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for 6 principal pollutants, which include ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and lead. These pollutants, known as criteria pollutants, are derived from numerous sources that are considered harmful to public health and the environment.

Air Quality Index Levels

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index used for reporting forecasted and daily air quality.
  • Good - Air quality is considered good, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
  • Moderate - Air quality may pose a moderate health risk, especially for those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
  • Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups - Members of sensitive groups, children and adults with respiratory and heart ailments, may experience health effects and should limit time outside.
  • Unhealthy - Everyone may experience health effects and should limit their outdoor activity. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
  • Very Unhealthy - Everyone may experience more serious health effects and should avoid outdoor activities.