Baton Rouge: May is Air Quality Awareness month, both nationally and in Louisiana. While the air quality in Louisiana is better than it has been since the implementation of the Clean Air Act, May is also traditionally the start of ozone season. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is encouraging citizens to become familiar with the Air Quality Index, to understand what causes ozone formation and to take voluntary steps to help prevent the formation, further improve air quality and meet or continue to meet the current national air quality standards.
When conditions are right, the air pollutant known as ozone is formed. It is formed by a chemical reaction on hot days when the pollutants, known as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, cook under a hot sun. Ozone formation is most prevalent between May 1 and Sept. 30, but it can occur at other times. When people limit the formation of ozone-causing pollutants, there is a chance the ozone formation may decrease or not form at all.
Many areas of that state, including Shreveport, Lake Charles, Houma/Thibodaux and New Orleans, have joined the Ozone Advance Program set up by the U S Environmental Protection Agency to plan and put in measures to prevent their area from becoming a nonattainment area for ozone and PM2.5, fine particulate matter.
Some steps the public can take include: walking, biking, carpooling, using mass transit and ride sharing. Use gasoline powered engines after 6 p.m. and fuel your car when it’s cool. When running errands, plan and combine them for less driving. Conserve energy in your home and buy energy efficient appliances. Good air quality is everyone's responsibility.
Information on air quality can be sent to the public, automatically, by email or text, by subscribing to EnviroFlash. This free system, provided by DEQ in conjunction with the EPA, allows citizens to receive daily or on demand air quality information and ensures that the public receives Ozone Action Day alerts and other pertinent air quality information. To subscribe to EnviroFlash go to: http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/tabid/2880/Default.aspx
Current air quality information is available on the DEQ Web site at: