Air Quality

Mississippi is fortunate to have an abundant supply of clean air, historically meeting all federal air quality standards. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is responsible for protecting the state’s air as part of its mission to protect the health and safety of Mississippians by conserving and improving the environment and fostering wise economic growth through research and responsible regulation.

Under the Clean Air Act, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes primary air quality standards to protect public health and secondary standards to protect public welfare—including protecting ecosystems, plants, and animals. The EPA has set national air quality standards for six principal air pollutants: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead. MDEQ monitors all of these pollutants except lead and carbon monoxide, which are so low in the state that the EPA and MDEQ have determined that they no longer need to be monitored.

The data collected in 2010 at various monitoring sites show that Mississippi is meeting all the ambient air quality standards. Also, the monitoring data for hazardous air pollutants indicate that the numbers are well below the required thresholds.

However, new, more stringent federal standards are raising additional questions. Recent data trends and air-monitoring data indicate that DeSoto County and the coastal counties have numbers that are very close to the ozone standard. Therefore, MDEQ has initiated a voluntary ozone precursor air pollution control program in partnership with local government and business leaders to prevent future nonattainment designations from the EPA. MDEQ continues to operate a network of sophisticated continuous air analyzers and twenty-four-hour samplers to measure ambient air pollution.

Further Reading

  • Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality website,
  • US Environmental Protection Agency website,

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Air Quality
  • Author
  • Keywords Air Quality
  • Website Name Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date February 16, 2020
  • Publisher Center for Study of Southern Culture
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 24, 2018