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Monday, June 12, 2017

Major air pollution alert for South extended through Tuesday

“Unhealthy” ozone levels cover coast as well as inland
Pollen count also in the red zone
By Will Collette

Related image
We are well into the Orange range.
Yes, Charlestown, we DO have air pollution problems, especially in the summer. It’s mostly due to the weather, but the cars our visitors and part-time residents bring in add to the problem.

The state Health Department and Department of Environmental management have issued a serious warning to those who could be at acute risk from bad air.

At present, that warning extends until 10 PM today (Monday) for the entire state. However, Charlestown and the rest of South County will have unhealthy air through Tuesday.

The forecast for Wednesday's air quality is "good."

The following material from state officials describes the nature of the problem and what you should do (and not do) while we suffer through some filthy air.
The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground-level ozone concentrations. Fine particles are anticipated to reach MODERATE levels statewide.


Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.
Here is the pollution forecast for Monday through Tuesday:

Monday June 12, 2017
AQI
Rating
AQI
Rating
Alton Jones & Vicinity
115
Unhealthy
Alton Jones & Vicinity
52
Moderate
Providence & Vicinity
105
Unhealthy
Providence & Vicinity
60
Moderate
Southern & Coastal
110
Unhealthy
Southern & Coastal
52
Moderate


Tuesday June 13, 2017
AQI
Rating
AQI
Rating
Alton Jones & Vicinity
105
Unhealthy
Alton Jones & Vicinity
52
Moderate
Providence & Vicinity
95
Moderate
Providence & Vicinity
58
Moderate
Southern & Coastal
115
Unhealthy
Southern & Coastal
52
Moderate


Wednesday June 14, 2017
AQI
Rating
AQI
Rating
Alton Jones & Vicinity
42
Good
Alton Jones & Vicinity
54
Good
Providence & Vicinity
40
Good
Providence & Vicinity
65
Good
Southern & Coastal
125
Good
Southern & Coastal
54
Good


The Department of Health warns that unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. 

On top of the ozone and fine particulates, we have this forecast from Pollen.com showing high and medium-high levels of pollen, primarily from oak trees and grasses for the week ahead: 






Rhode Island residents can help reduce air pollutant emissions. Limit car travel and the use of small engines, lawn motors, and charcoal lighter fuels. Travel by bus or carpool whenever possible, particularly during high ozone periods.
These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity. 
The children, elderly and people who have underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. 
As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.
To avoid experiencing these effects, limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment if possible during the afternoon through late into the evening hours when ozone levels are highest.
Schedule outdoor exercise and children's outdoor activities in the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms may wish to consult their doctors.
The unhealthy levels of ozone are expected to last as long as the hot sunny weather is present. The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Lung Association reminds people that "when you can't breathe nothing else matters."
Below are some ways that you can help contribute to lower ground level ozone levels and cleaner air:
1. Limit driving. Avoid unnecessary car trips. Carpool, walk or ride the bus or a bicycle whenever possible.
2. Minimize starts and avoid unnecessary acceleration. Vehicle emissions are highest during starting and acceleration.
3. Reduce idling. Avoid congested traffic and lines at drive-through windows.
4. Drive your lowest emission vehicle. Use the most fuel-efficient, usually the newest, car you have whenever possible.
5. Maintain your vehicle. Get a tune-up at the beginning of each summer.
6. Minimize lawn mower emissions. Tune-up your lawn mower and use electric or hand powered equipment if possible.
7. Limit use of solvent-based household products. Use water-based or low solvent paints, varnishes, cleaners, and personal care products.
8. Limit barbecue emissions. Use an electric starter instead of lighter fluid to start charcoal fires, or use an electric, natural gas, or propane grill.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

Related links

RI DEM: Air Quality Forecast

RI DEM: Air Monitoring

RI Department of Health