The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued an air quality alert for today that virtually covers all of Southern Indiana including all counties in the listening area.
The agency forecasts high ozone levels and has declared Wednesday an “Air Quality Action Day,”
Counties here in southwestern Indiana include Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Perry, Pike, Spencer, and Warrick. Counties in Central Indiana are also impacted.
A release from the department says ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties.
Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather bake vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and gasoline vapors.
Anyone who is 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 outdoors.
The department encourages people to help reduce ozone by changing certain daily habits.
• Walking, biking, carpooling or using public transportation
• Avoid using the drive-through and combine errands into one trip
• Avoid refueling your vehicle or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 pm.
• 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
To learn more about ozone and to sign up for air quality forecasts, visit www.SmogWatch.IN.gov.