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Air District issues first Spare the Air Smog Alert of 2010

This is why I am a cheerleader for implementing outbound, weekday evening congestion charges for private cars that use gasoline ….

Update: Tuesday will also be a Spare the Air Smog Alert Day.

Today the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the first Spare the Air Smog Alert for 2010.

Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy today, Monday, August 23. There is no free transit today and there is no wood burning ban in place. The Air District encourages residents to drive less and reduce their energy use.

“We’ve been fortunate that air quality has been healthy most of the summer due to unseasonably cool weather,” said Air District Executive Officer Jack Broadbent. “This alert is a reminder to us all that we must reduce the amount of pollution we generate every day to avoid unhealthy air when the weather turns hot.”

Motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals contain volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight to form ground-level ozone. Breathing ozone can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain. It can trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema.

Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. High levels of ozone pollution are particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. Vigorous outdoor exercise should be undertaken only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower. The Air District issues Spare the Air Alerts whenever air quality is forecast to reach unhealthy concentrations.

A list of simple things the public can do to make clean air choices every day:

• Bike to work or around town
• Take public transit
• Work at home or telecommute
• Carpool and link your errands to reduce driving
• Avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers
• Reduce household energy use
• Cook indoors, not on the barbecue
• Avoid using aerosol spay cleaners, paints and hairspray

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (www.baaqmd.gov) is the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. For more information about Spare the Air, visit www.sparetheair.org

One Response to Air District issues first Spare the Air Smog Alert of 2010

  1. Free transit (busses, vanpools, bikepools) ought to be made available automatically by forecast AND as soon as the actual Air Quality Index exceeds the “green equals healthy” reading at Airnow.gov. But where’s the public education to help folks LOOK for AQ status? Their health is at stake. How about regular air quality PSAs and alerts both read on radio and TV by well-known voices? And to borrow from some dirty air corridors back East, shouldn’t we use highway message boards? Imagine reading “PARK YOUR CAR–SAVE A BREATHER” at entry ramps.