Ozone Alert Day Issued for August 1
Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008Air 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 issued an ACOG Ozone Alert Day for Friday, August 1. This is the second Alert Day of the year.
Because of immediate health concerns for people that may be susceptible to the effects of air pollution, residents in the metro area are encouraged to reduce air pollution by adapting their daily routines.
On August 1, there are a few simple things that people can do to help “clear the air:”
• Riding the bus on Ozone 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. Older, 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.
• Drive the speed limit on highways. Motor vehicles emit fewer pollutants when driven at a consistent speed at or below 65 mph.
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.
While air pollution is unhealthy for everyone, some people are at increased risk because of their age or health situation. Those groups include people with asthma, adults over 65, children under 18, persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD – chronic bronchitis and emphysema), people with cardiovascular disease, and those with diabetes.
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 Ozone 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 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 still 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 must be monitored daily.
For more clean air tips, visit to www.GetSquare.org.