As warmer weather approaches, so does the onset of ground-level ozone. High levels of ozone pose health risks for everyone, and large segments of the population are considered especially sensitive to air pollution. Fortunately, ozone levels are being monitored and the public can be alerted when levels become unhealthy. The Air Quality Partnership (AQP), a program of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, educates residents about the dangerous effects of ground-level ozone and provides air quality forecasts to the public.
Air Quality Awareness Week runs from May 2 to May 6 and it marks the start of the ozone season, which runs through September. Currently, Greater Philadelphia does not meet the federal air quality standards for ground-level ozone. In the summer, sunlight and high temperatures “bake” pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, and other sources, to form high levels of ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog.
The AQP encourages actions to reduce air pollution, such as:
- Take transit or rideshare
- Don’t top off your gas tank. Spillage adds two tons of pollution to the air each day
- Refuel at the end of the day. Ozone levels are highest in mid- to late-afternoon
- Be sure to clean out your trunk, since an extra 100 pounds reduces gas mileage by up to 2% and wastes fuel
- Trip-link when possible. Combining errands with your daily commute will save time, money, and the environment
- Follow regular maintenance schedules for your car. A properly running vehicle emits less pollution and saves gas
- Check your owner’s manual and properly inflate your tires. Properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage up to 3.3%
- When changing your oil, use a manufacturer-recommended grade motor oil to improve fuel economy by 1-2%
To view the daily forecast or sign up for air quality alerts visit www.airqualitypartnership.org