15 Sep 2014
75° Overcast
Patch Instagram photo by usgbc_mn_ne_branch

Smog Alert: Code Red Alert Saturday

Saturday's forecasted air quality number is 166, up from Friday's Code Red Smog Alert of 151.

Smog Alert: Code Red Alert Saturday

The Clean Air Campaign has distributed a Code Red Smog Alert for Gwinnett County and the metro Atlanta for Saturday. It would be the first Code Red exceedance metro Atlanta has experienced since July 7, 2010.

Pollutant: Ozone


Air Quality: Because of the predicted concentrations of ground-level ozone, air quality in metro Atlanta is predicted to be "unhealthy."

Health Advisory: Air is more likely to be unhealthy for most people, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), seniors and children. Most people should restrict their outdoor exertion to morning or late evening hours when ozone is low, to avoid high ozone exposures.

Smog Alerts start at Code Orange, or "unhealthy for sensitive groups" (AQI 101-150), and are also issued at Code Red, or "unhealthy" (AQI 151 to 200) and Code Purple, or "very unhealthy" (AQI 201 to 300). The hazards of poor air quality increase steadily as pollution levels increase. Each pollutant -- ozone or particle pollution -- carries its own associated health risks and effects.

To date, metro Atlanta has experienced five Code Orange exceedances.

To help improve air quality, The Clean Air Campaign is asking people to look at alternatives to driving alone during the warmer months when air pollution is more likely to form.  In metro Atlanta, half of all smog-forming emissions come from the tailpipes of cars, so keeping your car off the road on your way to and from work makes a positive impact.  Some commute options aside from the solo drive are:

  • Carpooling: Share the ride – you keep pollutants out of our air and reduce traffic. You also cut your commute costs at least in half, and by using the uncongested HOV lane, you save time.  Plus on days you’re not driving, you arrive to work less stressed.
  • Vanpooling: Vanpoolers save money on gas and car expenses and can keep 10 cars off the road every day. Plus vanpools can travel in the HOV lane, so everyone can kick back and relax (unless you're the driver). Vendors in the region provide the vehicle, insurance and the maintenance.  If you’re looking to join a vanpool or carpool, ARC’s RideSmart database has more than 50,000 commuters looking to share the ride too.   It will match you with others who work and live near you.
  • Transit: Using transit for part or all of your commute means you're reducing air pollution and traffic.  It can also save you money.
  • Telework: Avoid traffic altogether by working from home.  Teleworkers are proven to be 10-20 percent more productive than their in-office counterparts. 
  • Bike or Walk: Nearly 25 percent of our trips are less than one mile, and if you're not far from work, it's a healthy option.  In fact, more than 20,000 metro Atlantans ride their bicycle or walk to work each day.
  • Rearranging your work schedule: Instead of changing how you get to work, you might try adjusting when you get there. By driving at off-peak times, you avoid sitting in traffic and pollute a lot less.  And by working a compressed work week, you can avoid commuting one day a week. 



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