Ozone Action Days are observed at certain times during the summer months, when weather conditions such as heat, humidity, and air stagnation run the risk of causing health problems. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the organization that declares an Ozone Action Day alerts for the state of Louisiana.
OZONE ACTION PROGRAM
The Ozone Action Program is a public education program coordinated by the Clean Air Coalition. It is a community-based program designed to reduce ozone-forming emissions caused by vehicles and other sources during the summer months in the five parish Baton Rouge ozone non-attainment area. This area includes East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Iberville and Livingston Parishes. It consists of two basic elements -- The Ozone Action Day Program and The Baton Rouge Area Commuter Services Program.
OZONE ACTION DAYS
Based on a prescribed decision-making process, the DEQ will issue an ozone alert in the afternoon on the day BEFORE an elevated level of ozone is expected to occur. Announcements for an Ozone Action Day will then be broadcast on WAFB and other news media.
On the Ozone Action Day, organizations and individuals can voluntarily take planned measures to reduce emissions of ozone precursor pollutants. Following an Ozone Action Day, efforts will be made to estimate emissions reductions from the actions taken.
Ground level ozone presents a significant air quality problem in the Baton Rouge area during the summer months. While acting as a protective shield in the upper atmosphere, ozone at ground-level is a major element of urban smog. Ozone can lower resistance to diseases such as colds and pneumonia, damage lung tissue, intensify heart and lung disease, and cause coughing and throat irritation. At highest risk are children, the elderly, and those with heart or respiratory diseases. Elevated levels of ozone can also harm vegetation, farm crops, and forests.
The purpose of the Ozone Action Program is to decrease the formation of ground-level ozone during the summer in the Baton Rouge ozone non-attainment area. Ground-level ozone forms when pollutants from vehicles, paints and solvents, unburned fuel, and industrial sources "bake" in hot, sunny weather. The program warns the public about forecasted high ozone days, and asks for voluntary actions to reduce emissions of ozone forming pollutants.
Ultimately, achieving attainment for ozone (air quality better than the national standard) will result in a healthier environment for the region's citizens and work force, and make it more attractive for economic development and relocation.
OZONE ACTION DAY GOALS
Ozone Action programs have been implemented in many cities throughout the U.S. They are cost-effective and do not require new regulations or mandatory actions. The Ozone Action Program is entirely voluntary and depends on EVERYONE to share the responsibility.
BECOME AN OZONE ACTION DAY PARTICIPANT
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