Unhealthy air alert: Spare the air issued for Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)  —  Saturday, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is issuing its eighth Spare the Air Alert for smog in 2015.

Air quality is forecast to be unhealthy tomorrow, Sunday, September 20.  A high pressure system over the region will produce high temperatures, clear skies and light winds across the Bay Area.

These conditions, combined with motor vehicle exhaust, will produce smoggy skies. In addition to smog, smoke from the Valley Fire in Lake County is drifting into much of the Bay Area, contributing to unhealthy air.

“Unfortunately air in the Bay Area will be fouled by both smog and smoke due to the heat and Valley Fire smoke,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “It’s important that residents protect their health and avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day and anytime they smell smoke.”

Nearly 40 percent of Bay Area smog pollution and greenhouse gases are from passenger vehicles. The single most effective way for residents to reduce smog pollution is to drive less.

Air District survey results find that Bay Area employees are more likely to adopt alternatives to driving alone when encouraged to do so by their employer.

Bay Area employers with 50 or more full-time employees are now required to offer commuter benefits to their employees. For more information about the Commuter Benefits Program, visit 511.org and click on Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program.

Spare the Air Alerts are issued when ozone, or smog, pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. Smog can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function.

Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. When a Spare the Air Alert is issued, outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

To improve air quality, residents are encouraged to walk, bike, carpool or take transit instead of driving alone, not just on Spare the Air days, but every day.

Residents can visit website to find a list of commute programs and incentives available where they live and work.

To find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents can register for email AirAlerts at website call 1(800) HELP-AIR.



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