May 01, 2014
Baton Rouge - Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared May as Air Quality Awareness Month in Louisiana. May is traditionally the start of ozone season and the proclamation was made to encourage citizens to become familiar with the Air Quality Index, to understand what causes ozone formation and to take voluntary steps to help prevent ozone formation and improve air quality.
When conditions are right, the air pollutant ozone is formed. It is formed by a chemical reaction when the pollutants nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, react under a bright sun. Ozone formation is most prevalent between May 1 and Sept. 30, but it can occur at other times. When everyone takes necessary steps to limit the release of ozone-causing pollutants into the atmosphere, there is a good chance that ozone formation may decrease.
Many areas of that state, including Shreveport, Lake Charles, Houma/Thibodaux, New Orleans and Lafayette, have joined the Advance Program set up by the U S Environmental Protection Agency. This program encourages areas which are close to violating the ozone standard to plan and put local measures in place to prevent their area from becoming a nonattainment area for ozone and PM2.5, fine particulate matter.
Some steps the public can take include: walking, biking, carpooling, using mass transit and ride sharing. Use gasoline powered engines after 6 p.m. and fuel your car when it’s cool. When running errands, plan and combine them for less driving. Don’t idle – walk into the restaurant or turn off your engine in carpool line. Conserve energy in your home and buy energy efficient appliances. Good air quality is every ones responsibility.
If you are interested in receiving air quality information, automatically, by email or text, subscribe to EnviroFlash. This system, provided by DEQ in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, allows citizens to receive daily or on demand air quality information and ensures that the public receives Ozone Action Day alerts and other pertinent air quality information. To subscribe for EnviroFlash go to www.deq.louisiana.gov/enviroflash. Current air quality information is available on the DEQ website, http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/PROGRAMS/Air.aspx.