City issues air-quality alert through Tuesday

The tailpipes are shown on an Audi A4 on March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With summer nearing and temperatures rising, Central Indiana’s air quality is falling.

Indianapolis officials on Monday warned that ground-level ozone may rise to unsafe levels for active children, the elderly and anyone suffering from lung diseases and other serious health problems. As a result, the city issued “Knozone Air Quality Action Days” through Tuesday.

Everyone is asked to take these steps through Tuesday:

  • Reduce vehicle idling, including in drive-thrus.
  • Fill gas tanks and mow after 7 p.m.
  • Walk, bike or use buses or other alternative transportation options.

People who are sensitive to higher ozone levels are encouraged to avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.

Expect more “Action Days” this year because the Environmental Protection Agency last year set stricter standards, said Aliya Wishner, deputy communications director for Mayor Joe Hogsett, in an email. Indianapolis has issued about 15 air-quality alerts over the past five years, with the most in 2016. Central Indiana also saw a record-high number of “good” air quality days and a record-low number of “moderate” air quality days in the past five years, she said.

Ground-level ozone is the primary contributor to smog in urban areas, said a news release from the city. Smog is formed when harmful emissions sources like cars and lawnmowers react with heat and sunlight.

“Our aim is to inform our residents when the air quality could potentially impact their health — as a result, we sometimes preemptively call Action Days, but the air quality never actually reaches the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ level,” Wishner said in the email.

More information on Central Indiana’s air quality is available at knozone.com.

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