Indiana Declares Air Quality Action Day for Friday: What You Need to Know About the Risks
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has declared Friday, April 14, 2023, to be an Air Quality Action Day across the state. Here's what that means.
What Is an Air Quality Action Day
According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Air Quality Action Days are declared when "ground level ozone pollution" and fine particulate matter like smoke, dust, soot, and vapor are at levels that could be considered unhealthy. These fine particles are often referred to as PM2.5 because they measure 2.5 micrometers in width or smaller.
Ozone is not emitted directly into the air but can form from a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)—known as ozone precursors—in the presence of heat and sunlight. PM2.5 is emitted directly in smoke or can form from chemical reactions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides in the atmosphere. PM2.5 also comes from activities that stir up tiny airborne dust, as well as natural events such as volcanos and wildfires.
Why We Should Be Aware of Air Quality Action Days
Unfortunately, when pollution and ozone levels are high, it can wreak havoc on our respiratory systems, even if we are healthy. Those who may suffer from pre-existing respiratory issues or illness may be especially vulnerable, as are children and the elderly. During Air Quality Action Days it is recommended that you limit your time outdoors to help reduce the possibility of experiencing ill effects.
What Is The Risk Where You Live
The Air Quality Action Day issued for Friday, April 14, 2023, includes all Indiana counties, according to IDEM.gov. However, some are more severely impacted than others. All of central and southern Indiana is under a moderate - or yellow - risk. Under a yellow warning, there may be a moderate risk to people who suffer from respiratory sensitivities. Several counties in north-central and north-eastern Indiana are under an orange or USG warning, denoting that levels will be "unhealthy for sensitive groups." Counties impacted under the USG level orange include:
- St Joseph
To see an interactive map detailing the air quality by county, visit IDEM.gov.
How You Can Help Reduce Pollution on Air Quality Action Days
There are a number of ways that you can help to reduce your contribution to pollution, especially on Air Quality Action Days when levels are already high. Using alternative methods of transportation like walking, biking, or public transportation are all helpful. It is also helpful to wait until after the sun sets before filling your car with fuel. Anything that you can do to prevent or reduce vehicle or gas-powered emissions is recommended. To learn more, visit the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at IDEM.gov.