What is a Clean Air Action Day

During the summer conditions could lead to a Clean Air Action Day. Here are several tips for the community on how we can reduce the air pollution that is emitted and can lead to poor air quality.

On Clean Air Action Days don’t refuel car until after 6pm. If you do refuel, don’t top off your tank. It leads to spills and releases more air pollution. Also, wait to mow your lawn until a non-Clean Air Action Day. Do your best to reduce vehicle use to lower the amount of air pollution.

Today is an Clean Air Action day because of several factors.  Air quality is a tangible issue but it’s hard to see. Ground-level ozone and particulate matter can trigger health and environmental problems. Some of these problems can be asthma attacks in individuals or crop damage to farms.

Ground-level ozone forms due to emissions that react with the sun when its warm in the summer months. Temperatures over 80 degrees can enhance ozone formation. South and Southwest winds can bring warmer weather to West Michigan and also increase the ground-level ozone levels. Also, when the wind speeds are low, ozone and emissions are less likely to be diluted or dispersed.

Particulate matter is made up of hundreds of different chemicals from many sources. These pollutants are highest during the summer and winter. High pressure air masses which last several days, allow build up of particulate matter because of the stagnant conditions. Also, high relative humidity can enhance formation and chemistry for particulate matter.

If want to check today’s forecast for air quality, the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition provides a daily forecast.

When all these factors are present, meteorologists declare Clean Action Days. However, everyday we should try to make voluntary choices that will help reduce air pollution.

Everyday, if possible, try to carpool on your way to work. Even better, walk, bike or use public transportation. You can ride the Rapid for free on Clean Air Action Days (This only applies to the fixed route buses while the funding is still available).

When planning errands for the day combine all the errands into one trip. Think about the status of your vehicles, regular maintained helps prevent air pollution emissions. Especially, pay attention to the tires to keep them properly inflated. When driving, avoid idling, so avoid the drive-thru parts of restaurants and banks.

All you actions make a difference, especially on Clean Air Action Days! For more information on how you can reduce your air pollution emissions visit West Michigan Clean Air Coalition.

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