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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jenny Tan, Public Information Officer
May 16, 2017 (530) 757-3657 | email@example.com
What is ‘Spare the Air’?
(Davis, CA) – Every May as the temperatures rise throughout Northern California, residents are asked to ‘Spare the Air’ on certain days but does everyone know what this means and how air quality affects them?
Every day, a forecast is made about the air quality index (AQI) and depending on the prediction the AQI can land in one of five categories: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy (for everyone) or very unhealthy. When the AQI for ground-level ozone pollution is forecast to reach 126 or higher a ‘Spare the Air’ alert is issued asking residents and communities to lower their emissions and reduce their exposure to air pollution.
Ground level ozone is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. In combination with the bowl-like shape of the Sacramento valley and the rising summer temperatures, ozone pollution becomes trapped close to the ground and the air we breathe. Almost 70% of the region’s ozone pollution comes from cars, trucks, locomotives, buses, motorcycles and agricultural and construction equipment.
Air pollution affects everyone, even people who are healthy or exercise and especially those who are most susceptible such as young children, pregnant women, outdoor workers, the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses such as COPD or asthma. Air pollution can cause short term effects like coughing and sneezing and worsen existing conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Long term exposure can have permanent health effects such as accelerated aging of the lungs and a shortened life span.
Since ozone is a preventable pollutant, the following are simple actions all residents can take to lower their emissions and improve air quality:
- Sign up for local air alerts.
- Postpone errands until the ‘Spare the Air’ alert is over.
- Cut back on driving.
- Walk or ride a bike.
- Take public transportation or carpool.
- Purchase a low-emission vehicle.
- Use charcoal-free lighter fluid.
- Avoid pesticides.
By taking these simple steps residents will not only save money on utility bills, fuel and energy but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower pollution and reduce energy loss and smog. Let’s empower ourselves and others to make a difference and lower air pollution while creating cleaner air for everyone to breathe.
‘Spare the Air’ is an educational and advisory program that runs every year from May to September in the greater Sacramento region. To learn more about the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, including signing up for free air quality alerts, visit: www.ysaqmd.org. Connect with us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/YoloSolanoAir or follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/YoloSolanoAir.