Study shows mountains are getting Denver's air pollution despite overall improvement in air quality

DENVER - The Colorado Rocky Mountains is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the Denver metro, but we can't escape its air pollution.

A study released by the National Parks Conservation Association shows poor air quality in many of the countries National Parks, including Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Both scoring a 'D' grade in healthy air. 

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Another study conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research last summer shows a theory about where that pollution is coming from.

Gabriele Pfister, one of the lead scientists on the project, told 7NEWS they found that upslope wind events push Denver's air pollution further up into the mountains than they first thought. 

"We saw very high, elevated ozone, and other pollutants, all the way up on the divide. And we were also able to go down into the Granby area and see how this pollution gets over the divide, and spills down into Granby.

The N.C.A.R. study called FRAPPE (Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment) is expected to be fully released sometime next year. It should be able to give Colorado some good information about how much pollution is transported into our state, where the instate sources are, and where our pollution goes from here. 

The National Park study did show an overall improvement in air quality over the last 25 years, but they also say it's not good enough. 

In 1977 the Clean Air Act was modified with a deadline to give National Parks natural air by the year 2064. THE NPCA says at the rate we are going, that won't happen until the year 2276 or later. So what was supposed to take 3 generations, is now likely to take 10.

NPCA Video

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