Fourth air quality alert issued this month: Steps to help reduce pollution

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Central Ohio experienced its second air quality alert day in a row on Tuesday. 

It was the fourth alert so far this month. 

Pollution combined with hotter temperatures is making it harder to breathe for children, the elderly and people with certain health problems, like asthma or COPD. 

But, not everyone knows there are small changes we can all take to help reduce air pollution and the amount of air quality alert days issued. 

“When you’re driving your car what comes out of your tailpipe, there are a lot of different chemicals mixed in there and some of those when you have sunlight can react with each other and form ozone,” said air quality program coordinator at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) Brooke White. 

She said higher levels of ground ozone pollution tend to build up on hot days, which can irritate your lungs. 

“When we get these sort of still days, we don’t have a lot of wind coming through to help move those pollutants out of the city, we get that build up of pollution,” said White. 

White said one of the problems in Central Ohio is there’s a very high rate of people driving alone to work, about 80%.

“If we can really increase the number of people who are using transit, carpooling, walking, biking instead of driving their cars, that would definitely get us a long way towards decreasing the number of air quality alerts that we have in the region,” she said. 

She suggests filling up your car after 8pm when it’s cooler, so not as much gas evaporates. Try walking or biking to lunch instead of driving. You should also avoid mowing your lawn during air quality alerts. 

“We definitely need to be considering our behaviors to how it’s impacting others’ health,” said White. 

White suggests using Gohio to find free public ride-matching for carpooling and vanpooling. There you will also find the best walking or biking routes, as well as information on how many calories you’re burning and carbon dioxide you’re reducing with a new commute. 

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