COLUMBUS – With the theme of “Better Air, Better Health,” the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is promoting National Air Quality Awareness Week from May 4-8.
Air Quality Awareness Week encourages people to be mindful of their contributions to air pollution and to make responsible decisions that contribute toward healthier air. It also encourages them to check the current and forecast Air Quality Index (AQI) from MORPC’s air quality program and sign up for Air Quality Alerts.
“Air Quality Awareness Week is a national conversation about the impacts of air quality on public health in our communities,” said Dr. Kerstin Carr, director of Planning and Sustainability at MORPC. “MORPC will highlight how central Ohioans can protect their health from air pollution and still enjoy being active outside through daily messages on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.”
Poor air quality affects everyone, but some individuals are particularly sensitive to air pollutants, including children and adults who are active outdoors, the elderly, and those with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma.
“This year, people adjusting their work habits during the COVID-19 pandemic have had a positive impact on our local air quality conditions, as we have seen a decrease in vehicle miles traveled and an increase in telecommuting,” said Dr. Brooke White, senior air quality specialist at MORPC. “This strategy can be a valuable tool for employers to work into their operations, even as people are able to return to their workplaces.”
MORPC uses the national AQI scale to inform the public about daily ozone and particle pollution levels in central Ohio. The AQI scale runs from 0 to 300 – the higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. When levels reach more than 100, air quality is considered to be “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” MORPC issues an Air Quality Alert to the public when pollution levels reach 101 or higher.
Central Ohioans can check the current and forecast AQI and sign up to receive free Air Quality Alert notifications delivered by email or text message at morpc.org/airquality. People can also call MORPC’s toll-free air quality hotline at 1-888-666-1009 for the latest forecast. The hotline includes English and Spanish language options to best serve the Central Ohio community.
Submitted by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.