Although Central Ohio has continued to experience wintry conditions in recent weeks, Ozone Air Quality Alert Season has already started.
Higher levels of ozone pollution that come with sun and high temperatures are especially troublesome for those with sensitive breathing issues or respiratory disease during the warmer months of the year. For this reason, ozone season lasts from March through October.
For many years, MORPC has issued daily air quality forecasts for ozone and particle pollution and notified the public when pollution levels have become unhealthy for sensitive groups of people, including children and older adults. This year, for the first time, Air Quality Alerts from MORPC will also be available from the National Weather Service through its website, NOAA Weather Radio, and social media.
“MORPC works closely with local health agencies, the news media, and other local meteorologists to help spread the message when an Air Quality Alert is issued. Many people have noticed the dynamic messaging signs along area highways, which often notify drivers of Air Quality Alerts. But residents can also receive the alerts directly to their e-mail simply by signing up online.”
MORPC Air Quality Program Coordinator Brooke White
SIGN UP FOR AIR QUALITY ALERTS
Ground-level ozone is a gas made when emissions from cars and trucks, lawn equipment, and industry combine in the presence of sunlight. Particle pollution is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets in the air from sources including car and truck exhaust, electrical power plants, and industrial facilities.
People with asthma are more likely to suffer an increase in the number and severity of symptoms on days when an Air Quality Alert is issued. Those who are active outdoors should be aware of respiratory or cardiovascular effects from unhealthy air including coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Ozone levels are generally lower during morning or late evening hours, making then a better time for outdoor activities.
MORPC encourages those in the region to take steps to reduce emissions by considering different ways of commuting such as carpooling and taking the bus. With MORPC’s Gohio Commute, residents can explore the many commuting options available in Central Ohio. Other simple actions to take include not idling your vehicle, refueling after dark, and avoiding the use of gas powered lawn equipment on Air Quality Alert days.
Look for more information during Air Quality Awareness Week April 29 – May 3. For more information, please contact Brooke White.