Take Action on Ozone at Your Business
Although industry is heavily regulated and is known to contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research reports that industrial processes account for only 17 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Area businesses also play an integral role in the formation of ground-level ozone and consequently, can also play an integral role in its reduction. Because most area businesses are not regulated for environmental standards, the responsibility of conducting business that protects the community is a personal decision – but one that makes good sense.
Here's how businesses can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions:
· Combine errand tasks
· Avoid “topping off” the tank
· Encourage employees to carpool
· Provide a company-wide incentive plan to employees who actively reduce their carbon footprint
· Refuel fleet vehicles in the evening
· Service fleet vehicles often
· Reschedule discretionary maintenance such as painting, varnishing, and stripping.
· Reduce lawn areas
· Reduce or eliminate the use of gas- powered blowers, trimmers and weeders, especially on high ozone days
· Avoid using gasoline powered yard equipment, most of which have high emissions
· Share information about Ozone Action Days announcements with employees
· Develop a company-wide plan on how to reduce emissions that contribute to ozone formation
Take Action on Ozone at Home
The actions of area residents have a profound effect on ground-level ozone formation. Each time we mow the lawn, fill our tanks with gas, or perform household chores, we are presented with an opportunity to play our part in maintaining good air quality in Southwest Louisiana.
Here's how to reduce your ozone contribution:
· Keep your car maintained and serviced to ensure that you're getting the best gas mileage possible on your vehicle. A well-maintained car produces up to 30 percent less air pollution.
· Don't let your car idle.
· Carpool with friends.
· Combine errands.
· Don't overfill your gas tank. When it's full, make sure the cap is as tight as possible.
· Mow and perform other lawnwork after 5 p.m.
· Refuel after 5 p.m.
· Avoid solvent-based products; use water-based paint, stain and sealants.
· Keep tires properly inflated.
· Seal containers of household, shop and garden chemicals and solvents.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Ground-Level Ozone
What is ground-level ozone? It is pollution that is formed when emissions from manmade sources combine with heat and sunlight in the atmosphere. These sources include gas-powered vehicles, household paints, and industrial processes.
Image source: NOAA
How is ground-level ozone different from the ozone layer? The ozone layer, located in the stratosphere, is a protective layer that absorbs most of the sun's high-frequency ultraviolet light. At ground-level, however, ozone is a health hazard, especially for the young and elderly.
Why should the public care about ground-level ozone? Ozone pollution in the lower atmosphere greatly effects air quality. At ground level, ozone pollution is particularly harmful to the young, elderly, those who spend a lot of time outdoors and those with certain upper respiratory medical conditions. High levels of ground-level ozone can cause breathing difficulties, eye irritation and reduced resistance to lung infections and colds. Further, if an area demonstrates a pattern of high ground-level ozone levels, this could have detrimental financial consequences on the community and the residents within it.
Who determines if an area has ground-level ozone levels that are too high? The Environmental Protection Agency sets limits based on what is safest to sensitive populations. If an area's ground-level ozone readings exceed those limits, they could be considered “out of attainment,” and actions are eventually taken that directly affect residents.
We live in an industrial area. How does that effect our ground-level ozone formation? Isn't industry responsible for the reduction of surface-level ozone? Obviously industry contributes significantly to the formation of ground-level ozone. However, they are also heavily regulated to ensure that emissions stay in attainment according to EPA standards. Calcasieu Parish has reduced its emissions in correlation with the increased standards enforced by the EPA and other regulatory agencies. The area has been in attainment with those standards regularly since 1996, even as the regulations become more and more stringent.
Because individuals and most other businesses do not face stringent regulations, they often pollute more freely. It is difficult to determine the exact source of all ground-level ozone formation because emissions from a number of sources – industry, transportation, power stations, waste disposal, and so on – intermingle together in the atmosphere.
What happens when an area is out of attainment? Typically, gas prices increase to cover the cost of mandated environmental protection equipment for gas pumps. Consumers may also be required to pay increased costs for more stringent vehicle inspections. Further, an area that is out of attainment will be considered less desirable for business expansion, as developers will be expected to follow stringent environmental regulations.What is an ozone action alert?
An ozone action alert is issued when meteorologists anticipate weather conditions that contribute to increased ground-level ozone levels. When an alert is issued, residents should take Action on Ozone
by following simple tips, such as putting off yard work or limiting driving, for the remainder of the day.