J500 Media and the Environment

All I Need is the Air that I Breathe… by paulineah

Not for Assignment

Being an asthma sufferer, I am constantly reminded of the significance of clean air. Aggravated by allergens such as dust and pollen, asthma makes normal activities – such as exercise – extremely difficult. If you’re curious about how asthma feels, tightly cinch a belt around your chest and go for a run.

In addition to the allergens, when it gets hot outside, I have another thing to worry about. Just yesterday, I received an email announcing that an orange Ozone Alert had been issued for Greater Kansas City, which meant that the amount of ground-level ozone was considered “unhealthy,” particularly for people with respiratory or cardiac problems. Ground-level ozone forms when emissions from cars, lawn mowers, etc. combine with heat and sunlight. This, in turn, makes it difficult for your lungs to absorb oxygen.

Smog over Los Angeles

Smog over Los Angeles

In addition to being harmful to humans, ground-level ozone interferes with the ability of plants to produce and store food so that growth, reproduction, and overall plant health are compromised. Ozone weakens sensitive plants and makes them more vulnerable to disease and pests.

So, what can we do to help reduce ozone pollution? I found a few interesting tips and facts on the web:

  • According to the Mid-American Regional Council (MARC) Air Quality website: If every person in Greater Kansas City drove one less mile per week, in one month, the air we breathe would have 35,574 fewer pounds of smog-forming pollutants. You can carpool or use public transit to cut down on number of miles traveled.
  • In one hour, a gas-powered push lawn mower emits as much pollution as driving a newer car 140 miles! Avoid mowing on days when ozone is at an unhealthy level.

For more tips, check out MARC’s website: http://www.marc.org/Environment/airQ/faqs.htm

For daily updates on local air quality, you can follow airqkc on Twitter: http://twitter.com/airqkc

~ Pauline Horton


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