The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Air Quality Program has issued an orange Ozone Alert for Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. This alert indicates that an unhealthy level of ground-level ozone is expected tomorrow in the Kansas City region. This is the 13th alert for this ozone season.
"The hot, sunny summer continues,” said Doug Norsby, MARC senior environmental planner. “Without cloud cover, we need some sustained wind to mix and disperse air pollution. Unfortunately, low wind speeds, like those seen today, are expected to continue for the next day or two. This will cause the air around the region to stagnate and allow accumulated pollution to remain overnight. Under these conditions, ozone levels just keep building day after day without a chance to clear.”
Ozone pollution is formed when emissions from vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, and other sources react in heat and sunlight. Environmental factors — such as warm, sunny weather; low wind speeds; and lack of rain — increase the likelihood of poor air quality.
The two most important things residents should do on Ozone Alert days are:
1. PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
Ozone pollution can cause a variety of problems — even in healthy adults — including chest pains, coughing, nausea, throat irritation and difficulty breathing. People who are sensitive to air pollution, including children, older adults and people with breathing or heart problems, should limit outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Everyone should consider scheduling outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
2. REDUCE POLLUTION
More than half of all emissions that lead to ozone pollution are caused by everyday activities such as driving and yard work. To help reduce air pollution, you can postpone mowing and wait until evening to refuel vehicles. If you live close to where you work, consider riding a bike or walking instead of driving. Both options produce zero emissions and the exercise is great for your health. Try to schedule walking and biking trips before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m., and avoid prolonged exposure to outdoor air.
Learn more about simple actions to reduce pollution and follow the SkyCast, the region’s daily air quality forecast, at AirQKC.org. MARC issues the SkyCast each afternoon from March 1 through Oct. 31. SkyCast information is also available via the air quality information line, 816-701-8287, on social media at www.twitter.com/airQKC and from area media outlets.