MDEQ Issues Air Quality Action Day
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), has declared an Air Quality Action Day for Saturday, June 25, for DeSoto County. Air Quality Action Days are those days when ozone levels have the potential to exceed the ozone standard, and it is suggested that residents and industries take actions to help reduce air pollution.
Individuals that are sensitive to ozone such as young children, the elderly, and those that have respiratory diseases may experience breathing difficulties if they perform vigorous activities outside during the afternoon and early evening hours and should limit exertion outside.
Ground level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but it is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ozone at ground level is the main ingredient in “smog.” Under the Clean Air Act, EPA establishes primary ambient air quality standards to protect public health and secondary standards to protect public welfare that includes protecting ecosystems, plants and animals. In 2015 EPA lowered the air quality standard for ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. Air quality trends show that Mississippi has a history of meeting and continues to meet all of EPA’s ambient air quality standards.
All open burning is prohibited in DeSoto County for June 25.
The following suggested actions can really make a difference, especially on Air Quality Action Days, to reduce ozone:
1. Slow Down, Leave Early. Drive the speed limit and avoid fast accelerations. You’ll use less fuel, produce fewer emissions and be a safer driver.
2. Take mass transit, share a ride, or carpool. Even if you do it just once or twice a week, you’ll reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and save money.
3. Have fun! Walk or ride your bike. It’s a great way to travel and it can help you and the air get into condition. Vehicles on the road create more than 25 percent of all air pollution nationwide.
4. Mow your lawn after 6:00 p.m. When temperatures are cooler, ozone is less likely to form. Consider using electric lawn equipment.
5. Combine trips. It’s easy! Chances are, you’re already doing it – combining your errands into one trip. It helps you get things done and it helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
6. Get fuel when it’s cool. Refueling during cooler periods of the day or in the evening can prevent gas fumes from heating up and creating ozone. Also, that can help reduce the number of Air Quality Action Days.
7. Don’t top off the tank. It releases gas fumes into the air and cancels the benefits of the pump’s anti-pollution devices. So stopping short of a full tank is safer and reduces pollution. Also, regular maintenance and tune-ups, changing the oil, and checking tire inflation can improve gas mileage.
8. Telecommuting. Explore the possibility with your employer to save time, money, and the air.
9. Don’t be an “American Idle.” Avoid letting your car idle. Go inside instead of using drive-thrus.
10. Spread the word. If everyone took just a few of these simple easy steps, it could make a big difference.
Daily forecasts are available to the public via the MDEQ website, MDEQ Twitter account, and also through daily emails.