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Ozone Action Days

 

 

 

 

Q. What is Good and Bad Ozone?

Ozone is in the air. Ozone is both a good guy and a bad guy depending on where in the air it shows up. Ozone is good up high, bad nearby.

A.

Protective Ozone
Ozone in the stratosphere provides a protective ozone layer that protects the earth from UV radiation. At that level ozone depletion or ozone holes are bad.

Destructive Ozone
Ozone lower in the atmosphere, at ground level in the air we breathe, is a pollutant. It is a health hazard and it can harm plants as well.

Ground-level ozone is found in smog. It forms when certain pollutants combine under specific weather conditions (such as the hot Texas sun in Spring and Summer). Activities such as burning charcoal or gasoline release Nitrous Oxides (NOx). NOx combines with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to form ozone.

These VOCs may be emitted by plant life (good VOCs) as well as common household and industrial chemicals (bad VOCs). When the NOx combines with the bad VOCs we get increased amounts of ozone. When there is no wind to move air around, the excess ozone settles at ground-level and may appear as a haze over the city. More ground-level ozone means poorer air quality.

Air Quality and Ozone Pollution
Emissions from vehicles is the largest source of ground-level ozone in Texas. That's why the City of Tyler encourages the use of public transporation and other methods of transportation that reduce the number of cars and trucks on the road.

Ozone pollution makes breathing very difficult for some people. It aggravates asthma and can cause respiratory distress and infections. Ozone pollution affects plant life as well, killing trees and interfering with food crops.

The federal government has set certain standards for air quality, including acceptable and unacceptable ozone levels.

 

Q. What Are Ozone Action Days?

Ozone Action Days are specific days during ozone seaons when ground-level ozone is expected to exceed pre-determined levels. Ozone season is that time of year when ground-level ozone is most likely to form - hot, sunny, wind-free days. Ozone levels typically peak in the hotter days of August and September. Ozone season can vary by a month or so in either direction in different parts of Texas. For example, ozone season is 9 months long in Houston.

 

Q. Can I Limit My Ozone Production?

Yes, Here's How:

1.   Limit driving.
Ride a bike or walk instead of driving your car. When you don't dirve your car it produces zero ozone.

2.   Share driving duties.
Carpool or telecommute to work to reduce ozone emissions from excessive vehicles on the road.

3.   Ride the bus.
Capital Metro gives free service on Ozone Action Days so you save money on the bus ride, save gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle, and put less ozone in the air.

4.   Don't let engines idle.
Idling engines put more ozone in the air without getting anywhere. Avoid drive-throughs to reduce ozone emissions.

5.   Combine car trips.
When you must drive, combine several trips into one to minimize cold starts and reduce ozone emissions from your car. Emission levels are highest when a vehicle is first started.

6.    Refuel after 5 pm.
Pumping gas in the evenings reduces the time that fumes "cook" during the heat of the day, forming more ozone.

7.   Avoid overfilling the gas tank.
Overfills and spills add more ozone-producing fumes.

8.   Cap your gas.
Make sure your gas cap fits snugly to escaping fumes that produce more ozone.

9.   Keep your engine tuned.
Properly maintained vehicles reduce conditions that contribute to more ozone in the air.

10.   Avoid traffic congestion.
Listen to daily traffic reports to avoid areas that are backed up, at a standstill. Drive during off-peak hours if possible to reduce unsafe ozone emissions from stop-and-go traffic.

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