SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The Bay Area’s topography has helped it maintain better overall air quality than other parts of the state, this according to an annual report out from the American Lung Association. But there are still a lot of things individuals can do to help us breathe easier.

Coastal areas like Marin, San Francisco and Sonoma got A grades for ozone pollution, but the farther inland you go, the worse the grades become. Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano Counties, for example, got F grades.

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Lisa Fasano of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said that they’ve made good progress in cutting down on pollution from refineries, but freight traffic, particularly trucks, rail and ships around the Port of Oakland, continue to spew particulates. She said that this means the burden will lie with individual residents.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

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“It’s all very weather-dependent,” said Fasano. “If we have unusually hot summers, then we are going to see spikes in Ozone pollution, which are going to keep us at that unhealthy level. We have sort of an underlying level of pollution that’s in the air all the time. Until we reduce that level of pollution considerably, it’s going to be very challenging to bring the unhealthy days down when we have spikes in temperature that cook up the pollution.”

She said that means when you hear that a Spare the Air Day has been called, they’re not kidding about trying to avoid driving, gassing up on hot summer days, using gas-powered tools or even wood burning on cold nights.

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