DAYTON — Several days of very warm temperatures in the forecast has prompted a series of Air Pollution Advisories. The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), in conjunction with the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), issued an ozone Air Pollution Advisory (APA) for Friday, July 19, and again for Saturday, July 20. The advisories are for Clark, Greene, Darke, Miami, Montgomery and Preble Counties. The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures to be in the upper 90’s with lots of sunshine and light to moderate southwesterly winds. These conditions are conducive for the formation of ground-level ozone and may lead to elevated air pollution levels.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast for Friday is 105 and Saturday is 115. Any reading at 101 or higher is deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory diseases should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. It’s okay to be active outside, but take more breaks and do less strenuous activities. Symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue may indicate a serious problem. Residents should contact their health care provider if any of these symptoms occur. The general public is not likely to be affected.
Ground-level ozone (smog) is an irritant to the respiratory system formed when bright sunlight mixes with emissions from vehicles and small gasoline-powered engines. These emissions collect in a stagnant air mass and form smog. It’s important that everyone takes action to reduce ground-level ozone especially on days when these notices are issued. Residents are encouraged to follow these actions:
• Avoid driving if possible . Carpool/vanpool or take the bus. Vehicle emissions cause almost 50 percent of ground-level ozone. For short trips, walk or ride a bike.
• Refuel your vehicle after 8 p.m., or if possible, don’t refuel at all when air pollution advisory notices have been issued. Vapors from gasoline contribute to the smog problem. By refueling after 8:00 p.m. when it’s cooler, smog doesn’t form as easily. Make sure your gas cap fits tightly so gas fumes don’t escape and contribute to the smog problem.
• If you must drive, try to combine running errands or delay them until the Air Pollution Advisory notice is lifted.
• Drive a car that is well-tuned. Avoid “jackrabbit” acceleration and excessive idling, especially at drive-thru windows. If you have to wait for 2 minutes or more, it’s better to turn off the engine and go inside.
• Around the home, limit your use of small gasoline-powered equipment such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, power trimmers and shredders. Operating a gasoline-powered lawn mower for one hour produces the same amount of pollution as driving a car for 11 hours. Try a “push” or battery-powered lawn mower instead.
• Mow your lawn after 6: p.m. when the sunlight is not as strong and smog is less likely to form.
For more information about air pollution, contact the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, at (937) 223-6323, or the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, at (937) 225-4435. Log on to www.miamivalleyair.org for details and to register to receive “Air Pollution Advisories” via e-mail when they are issued. Click on AIR NOW/EnviroFlash at the bottom of the webpage and start receiving air quality forecasts daily.