The Mid-America Regional Council tracks regional air quality and issues a daily SkyCast forecast from March to October. When an Ozone Alert is issued via the SkyCast, an unhealthy concentration of ozone pollution is predicted for the following day. This means that active children and adults, and people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
Here are steps you can take to protect your health and reduce pollution during an Ozone Alert.
PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
- During an Ozone Alert, limit vigorous outdoor activity. Choose more moderate activities, such as walking instead of jogging. Stay indoors in a building with a good air filtration system, such as a local library, if ozone is especially concentrated or if you are sensitive to air pollution.
- Check on friends, relatives and neighbors. People with respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema, the elderly, and children are most affected by air pollution. The heat that helps generate ozone poses a simultaneous hazard.
- Early and late are best. Ozone concentrations are lower when it’s cooler, so exercise before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on Ozone Alert days.
- Visit the library, museum or community center. If you don’t have air conditioning, these are great places to expand your mind — and your lungs!
So far this season, our region has been experiencing higher-than-usual numbers of ozone alerts and exceedances. Together, we can work to reduce pollution to create healthier air.
- Drive less. Combine errands and put off less-necessary trips for a cooler day, carpool, or use public transit. Better yet, take a leisurely walk or bike ride, preferably early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Avoid fueling. Simply filling your vehicle with gasoline can lead to pollution as fumes escape and tiny drips and spills occur, and gas vapors react with heat and sunlight to form ozone. If you must fill your tank, do so after dusk. And be sure to avoid “topping off” your tank.
- Postpone mowing. Lawn and garden equipment is responsible for an estimated 9 percent of the Kansas City area’s ozone-forming emissions. Postpone yard work that involves power equipment until the Ozone Alert is over.
For more tips on reducing pollution, visit AirQKC.org.