Air Quality Action Days

3 Jun

Memorial Day weekend was just the beginning of New Jersey’s hot and humid NJ summer days. That means from now through the beginning of September, there’s a greater chance of having an Air Quality Action Day (we had a couple days in May already).

AIQ

Air Quality Action Days are declared when the ozone and/or particulate matter in the air reaches levels that are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) or higher. A Code Orange means that people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone and the presence of particles in the air. If you are wondering why this happens, the answer is pollution. And transportation is one of the largest sources of air pollution in New Jersey, responsible for over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions.  (http://www.nj.gov/dep/sage/ce-ggi.html)

So what can you do?

It’s good to be cautious— make sure children playing outdoors are not having trouble breathing and that seniors have a place to go where there is air conditioning. Children exposed to high levels of ozone are more likely to suffer aggravated asthma symptoms, asthma attacks, inflammation and lung tissue damage, even permanent lung damage.

Every time you get in your vehicle you create air pollution. Driving a cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicle helps, while driving less or not at all helps even more.  On Air Quality Action Days consider taking the bus, train, or catching a ride. Carpooling, vanpooling, taking public transit, combining trips, and driving fewer miles can help curb the level of emissions. GMTMA can help you find alternate commuting solutions and even create a personalized transportation plan. You can find out more at gmtma.org. Don’t idle, turn of your engine if stopped for more than 10 seconds, to avoid CO2 emissions. Also put off any errands that don’t need to be done or combine your trips so you drive fewer miles.

And finally, check AIQ Index and see if it is an Air Quality Action Day. There are other things you can do on Air Quality Days to help the air; you can find a cheat sheet here.

Enjoy the summer!

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