Air Quality Action Day in effect today

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has declared an Air Quality Action Day for much of central Indiana today — including Johnson County.

An Air Quality Action Day will be in effect from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Friday for the following counties: Carroll, Warren, Tippecanoe, Clinton, Howard, Fountain, Montgomery, Boone, Tipton, Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Randolph, Vermillion, Parke, Putnam, Hendricks, Hancock, Henry, Vigo, Clay, Owen, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Rush, Sullivan, Greene, Monroe, Brown, Bartholomew, Decatur, Knox, Daviess, Martin, Lawrence, Jackson and Jennings, according to an alert from the National Weather Service.

An Air Quality Action Day means that a combination of the high temperatures, light winds, and other factors are expected to produce conditions where high levels of ozone emissions may exceed federally mandated standards. Anyone sensitive to changes in air quality may be affected when ozone levels are high. Children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors, officials say.

Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather combine with vehicle exhaust, factory emissions, and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties for sensitive populations, according to IDEM.

Officials recommend the public consider taking the following actions to help reduce ozone-forming emissions:

  • Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation.
  • Avoid using the drive-thru and combine errands into one trip.
  • Avoid refueling your vehicle or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 p.m.
  • Turn off your engine when idling for more than 30 seconds.
  • Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the air conditioner to 75 degrees or above.