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Good Ozone, Bad Ozone

o3iconAnother Air Quality Alert is in effect today. Environmental officials say ground-level ozone levels are expected to be in the orange or unhealthy for sensitive groups range. Active children and adults and people with respiratory disease such as asthma are advised to limit prolonged outdoor exertion.  Kathy Luther, Director of Environmental Programs for Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, says the ozone layer you hear about in space is good... it's the ground-level ozone where we breathe, the smog, that's bad, and that forms when  volatile chemicals and nitrogen-related chemicals cook in hot sunlight, forming ground-level ozone, or smog.

Luther says there are things you can do to help keep ground level ozone levels down, including filling your gas tank after the sun goes down and postpone mowing your lawn.  Luther says "trip-chaining" is also helpful, do alot of errands at once, while car is still warm, because more emissions come from your car when the engine is 'cold', that is, before it's warmed up and running, so the fewer times you start it from a 'cold' engine, the less air pollution that's created.

On saturday NIRPC held a gas can exchange during the Lake Michigan District Household Waste collection program at Highland Public Works.

For more information visit the IDEM Smog Watch website at www.in.gov/apps/idem/smog/  or the EPA AirNow web site at www.airnow.gov  and click on Indiana.

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