Michigan Ramps Up Air Quality Awareness
The Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Community Health have partnered to promote National Air Quality Awareness Week through May 2.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service initiated the nationwide event to urge all Americans to "Be Air Aware." The week was selected to coincide with the kick-off of the "Ozone Action!" season to increase understanding about the air we breathe.
While Michigan's air quality has continued to improve in recent years, it occasionally experiences air pollution levels that pose a potential health risk for some people. The state agency's MIair Web page makes it easy to keep track of air quality levels across the state and allows anyone to sign up to receive free air quality forecast e-mail or text message notifications via EnviroFlash. Michigan residents can select to receive forecasts every day or only when poor conditions are expected. EnviroFlash also alerts participants about air quality "Action! Days."
Transportation, energy conservation, and other personal choices play a significant role in the quality of the air. Formal Ozone Action! and Clean Commute programs encourage residents to take action to reduce pollution by raising the awareness of the alternatives to driving alone to work or school, such as taking the bus, biking, walking, or joining a car pool. Idling a vehicle for longer than a minute is discouraged because it wastes fuel and adds to air pollution.