First Ozone Alert Day of 2005 Called for June 21
Posted: Monday, June 20, 2005Air quality concerns have prompted environmental officials to alert the public about the prospect of increased levels of air pollution in the Central Oklahoma region. Local officials have called a Clean Air Alert day for ozone pollution for Tuesday, June 21. This is the first Alert Day of the year.
Because of immediate health concerns for people that may be susceptible to the effects of air pollution, as well as the long-term economic impact to the region, residents in the metro area are encouraged to reduce air pollution by adapting their daily routines.
On June 21, there are a few simple things that people can do to help “clear the air:”
·Riding the bus on Clean Air Alert Days is FREE this year. Call 235-RIDE for route information.
·Gas up the vehicle in the evening. Ozone needs sunlight in order to form.
·Avoid lawn mowing. Some two-cycle gasoline-powered lawn mowers run for one hour emit as many pollutants as a car driven from Oklahoma City to Houston!
·If you have to gas up; avoid “topping off” the tank.
·Avoid unnecessary vehicle trips, or try to combine as many trips into one outing.
·Carpooling takes one car off of the road for every rider. For information on the Rideshare carpool matching service, call 235-RIDE.
In Oklahoma, ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, is a health and environmental concern from May to September. Ozone is formed by nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds mixing in the presence of intense sunlight. Automobiles and gasoline-powered engines are a primary source for these pollutants. Industrial machinery, lawn and garden equipment, recreational boats, drying paint and charcoal grills are some of the other sources. Little or no wind further adds to situations when high amounts of ozone can be created.
Throughout the year, the Central Oklahoma Clean Air Committee monitors the levels of ozone and carbon monoxide in the region’s air, and calls attention to days when weather conditions may be conducive for high levels of air pollution. The Committee notifies local media and meteorologists of Clean Air Alert day forecasts. Informing the public a day in advance gives people the opportunity to plan their activities in hopes of reducing air pollution levels.
Since 1992, with the establishment of the Clean Air Alert Day Program, the Committee has encouraged citizens, local governments and corporations to take proactive measures to keep the region’s air clean.
The Central Oklahoma region remains in attainment of air quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, since the region’s ozone levels change “like the wind,” the situation is monitored daily.
For more clean air tips and information about the Clean Air Alert Day program and Central Oklahoma’s air quality status, go to www.LetsClearTheAir.org.