Yakima ranks second worst air quality in the state

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Clear eyes, blue skies, and clean air. The benefits of Yakima are often experienced more by some, than others.

"I don't go outside sometimes because I do get scared of how it gets and stuff," said Jovany Magana.

Yakima has the second-worst air quality in the state, next to Tacoma. A reading of 35 on the air monitor is considered bad air. In 2010, the average daily reading of air quality in Yakima was 35. By last year it had improved to 27. Rigoberto Ribera said the air quality still bothered him and required trips to the doctor.

"I have asthma and it's been clogging up my lungs and my allergies and I had to miss school today because of it," said Rigoberto.

Staff at the Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center said they receive about five to ten more phone calls a day with patients with asthma symptoms due to the bad air quality.

There's also been an increase in the number of burn bans issued the last couple years. This prevents more smoke from getting into the air. Between October and April when the bans are issued, there's been nearly double the number of bans in recent years. Burn bans often prevent the use of wood-burning stoves. Yakima Clean Air Agency said more people have changed out these old stoves. Together with burn bans, this has helped improve air quality. Rigoberto would like to see it improve even more.

"It's very stressful because I walk home some times and it affects my walking up hills and stuff and I have to use my Albuterol," said Rigoberto.

As more people follow the rules, some can breathe a little easier.