Air Pollution is the first big component in determining Environmental satisfaction, and the Quality of Life. Air pollution is emitted by Industrial buildings, Power Plants, Waste Management facilities, etc. Unlike in SimCity 4, it cannot be reduced directly by placing parks. In fact there is no meaningful way of reducing air pollution except destroying polluting buildings. However, the effect can be countered by improving general Satisfaction, e.g. by placing Avatar Parks or Landmarks, which radiate an effect increasing Quality of Life. This does not reduce air pollution, but it increases citizens' tolerance of it.
Types of air pollution
Polluting buildings have 2 ways of affecting the environment:
- Heavy pollution, limited to a certain radius around the building. Waste treatment facilities produce this type of pollution.
- Light pollution, which builds up city-wide. Power plants in particular seem to have a big impact on this type of pollution.
This means that when using conventional power plants, air pollution will increase in line with your city's electricity consumption to the point where Elites, Offices and High Tech Industry won't want to come into your city any more. This will still happen even if you place all sources of pollution in a corner of the map, far away from your citizens.
Offsetting air pollution
- The Ford Dealer reduces city-wide pollution by 2% - helpful, but insignificant.
- Parks give only a minimal boost to environment satisfaction; insufficient to keep residents from complaining.
- Landmarks and an upgraded City Hall have a stronger effect over a wider area.
- Produce electricity only from a Nuclear Power Plant and Windmills - this trades off air pollution for noise pollution from the windmills, and a general drop in quality of life around the nuclear power plant.
- Import resources from Omnicorp or a (heavily polluted) supportive industrial city. This is the only really effective way of avoiding the effects of air pollution.
Custom parks, which lower pollution a little bit more than normal parks, are included as part of the Forest Mod. There is also the Goldiva Air cleaning pack, which includes:
- Pollution-scrubbing forests
- An air filter (also included in port expansion)
- The Department of Environment (5% lower pollution)
- Utopia (75% lower pollution).