Metro area under orange Ozone Alert
As if scorching temperatures and an excessive heat warning weren't enough, the metro area is under a pollution alert today. The Mid-America Regional Council Air Quality Program has issued an orange Ozone Alert for today, indicating that an unhealthy level of ozone pollution, also known as smog, is expected across the Kansas City region.
The Ozone Alert comes on top of an excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service that will continue in effect until 9 p.m. Friday. The forecast high today in the area is 103 degrees; Friday's high is expected to reach 102.
MARC reports more than half of all emissions that lead to ozone pollution are caused by residents’ everyday activities, including yard care. Officials with MARC indicate four simple actions can help reduce pollution from yard care:
- Postpone using gas-powered lawn equipment: using a gas-powered lawn mower for one hour creates the same amount of pollution as driving a car about 100 miles. If you are able, postpone using gas-powered equipment until the next green SkyCast is issued. Consider using manual or electric equipment when possible. If you need to use gas equipment, do so after 7 p.m. to allow emissions to dissipate overnight.
- Keep lawn and garden equipment maintained: the better maintained your lawn and garden equipment is, the less time it will take you to complete a job and the better your yard will look. Make sure that blades are sharpened, spark plugs and air filters are clean, and that oil is changed regularly.
- Use a no-spill gas can: fumes that evaporate when gasoline is spilled contribute to poor air quality. Use a no-spill gas can to avoid spills, and close the lid tightly before you put it away.
- Go native: native plants need less water, maintenance, fertilizer and pest protection than grass. Consider using native plants in at least some parts of your yard to save money and decrease the time you spend on upkeep.