The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality is issuing an air quality advisory due to elevated levels of smoke and ground-level ozone.
The smoke from the New Mexico fires and the heat and relatively calm winds are causing high levels of air pollution in the form of particulate matter and ozone this afternoon.
Particulate matter is made up of the tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. Ground-level ozone is formed when emissions from many sources, including cars and trucks, combine together in the presence of intense sunlight and heat.
Individuals who are especially sensitive to air pollution may experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing and breathing discomfort. If you go outside, you should reduce your level of exertion to decrease the amount of particulates you breathe into your lungs.
It is possible that ozone and smoke levels may be elevated tomorrow, as well, if weather conditions are similar.
Actions to reduce the production of ground level ozone:
- Reduce driving; combine errands into one trip.
- Ride the bus, walk or share a ride with friends and family.
- Avoid idling your vehicle’s engine. It wastes gas and causes air pollution.
- During the summer, refuel your car after 6 p.m. when fumes are less likely to form ozone.
- While refueling, always stop at the click.
- Make sure your gas cap is tightly sealed after refueling.
- Avoid using gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment.
- Check your tire pressure monthly to reduce gasoline use and associated pollution.
- Conserve electricity to reduce emissions from power plants.
PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 18 different air quality monitoring sites. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available online at the PDEQ website www.AirInfoNow.org or by calling the PDEQ hotline at (520) 882-4AIR.