Air quality warning for Wednesday

By Cameron Mattern
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers in parts of the state are being encouraged to avoid or reduce exertion and heavy work outside Wednesday.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued an air quality action day in southwest, southeast and central Indiana for Wednesday.

“Knozone Action Days are days when levels of ozone or particulate matter exceed the EPA’s standard set to protect the health of sensitive groups,” said Aliya Wishner, public information officer for the Office of Sustainability for the City of Indianapolis.

“Knozone” Action Days are called for the Central Indiana region, while other regions have other titles.

Children, the elderly, people with lung-related illnesses, and people who are very active outdoors are some of the sensitive groups affected.

Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties. High temperatures, sunny skies, little wind and other factors can contribute to unhealthy air quality.

Wishner said the Office of Sustainability works with Indiana Department of Environmental Management to evaluate air quality forecast models similar ways that weather forecast models are evaluated. If the forecasts indicate levels of unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups, an action day is declared.

The Office of Sustainability and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management offer a few different ways to combat and help reduce the high levels of ozone and air pollution. They state individuals can:

  • Walk, bike, use public transportation, or carpool
  • Refuel vehicles and mow after 7 p.m.
  • Reduce vehicle idling, even in drive-thru lanes
  • Combine errands into one trip

“All residents, on Knozone Action Days and every day, are encouraged to take steps to reduce emissions,” said Wishner.

Cameron Mattern is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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