By Nick Gilbert
Friday, June 29, has been forecast as a code Orange air quality action day for ozone in the five Pennsylvanian regions of Lehigh Valley, Susquehanna Valley, Liberty-Clairton, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
The forecast has been made by the Department of Environmental Protection and its air quality partnerships in the region. The Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership, and the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley have made the forecast.
Young children, elderly people, and persons suffering from bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and other respiratory problems, are prone to the detrimental effects of air pollution on these air quality action days. They are advised to reduce their outdoor activities.
During warm weather conditions, ground-level ozone is formed due to “baking” of pollutants released from power plants, industry, vehicles and residences. This ozone is a part of smog and affects certain people’s ability to breathe. In order to reduce its affects, people and businesses may undertake measures to limit pollution. They may turn off unused lights, use public transport or car pool, and avoid idling of vehicle engines.
The air quality index from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses colors to designate the air quality.
- Red - designates unhealthy pollution levels for all people
- Orange - designates unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people
- Yellow - designates moderate pollution levels
- Green - signifies good air quality
The counties that will be affected are:
- Lehigh Valley region - Lehigh, Northampton and Berks counties
- Susquehanna Valley region - Cumberland, Lancaster, York, Lebanon and Dauphin counties
- Philadelphia region – Philadelphia, Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties
- Pittsburgh region – Allegheny, Beaver, Fayette, Westmoreland, Armstrong, Butler, and Washington counties
- Liberty-Clairton region – Clairton, Liberty, Port Vue, Glassport and Lincoln municipalities.