Last year, a record number of ozone alert days were declared in central Oklahoma. Hot temperatures, calm winds and sunshine with no cloud cover are the ingredients for an ozone alert day. As Oklahoma enters ozone alert season, you can do your part to keep pollution down.
“Breathing in ozone is similar to getting a sunburn on your lungs,” said Jenny Brown, health promotions coordinator with the American Lung Association, Oklahoma City office. “It causes the lining of the lungs to become irritated and inflamed. Ozone affects everyone, but it is especially harmful to the approximately 32,000 children and 89,000 adults who struggle with asthma in central Oklahoma.”
In an effort to make Oklahomans more aware of local air quality issues, METRO Transit is offering free bus service on the third Friday of every month through September. METRO Transit bus rides are free for everyone on any route in the greater Oklahoma City metro area on August 16 or September 20. “Free ride days will also allow people who haven’t ridden before a chance to try the service at no cost while visiting the many entertainment and family-friendly venues available through our bus routes,” said Michael Scroggins, METRO Transit public information manager.
Other tips for cutting carbon emissions on ozone alert days:
- Carpool. Talk to your friends and coworkers about sharing the drive—you’ll help the environment and save on gas money.
- Combine trips. Before running errands, plan ahead and combine as many errands into one trip as possible.
- Take your lunch to work. Packing a lunch is a simple way to cut out a trip during the hottest time of the day.
- Dine-In. Avoid idling your engine in line at the drive-thru.
- Teleconference. Instead of driving to meetings on ozone alert days, consider teleconferences.
- Fill up your tank in the evening. Refueling in the evening can prevent gas fumes from evaporating into the atmosphere.
- Avoid mowing or mow in the evening. Older gasoline-powered lawn mowers running for one hour emit as many pollutants as a car driven from Oklahoma City to Houston.
To learn more about METRO Transit or view bus schedules and routes, visit www.gometro.org or call 405-235-RIDE. To learn more about carpooling or to be matched with someone in your area, visit www.getaroundok.com.