Today, Kansas City will experience its first ozone alert day of the season. Here’s what you need to know to protect your health and help reduce pollution.

When ozone pollution is high, the air is unhealthy. Ozone pollution is formed when emissions from vehicles, lawn and garden equipment and other sources react in heat and sunlight. Other environmental factors, like warm, sunny, dry days, can increase the likelihood of poor air quality.

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) advises you to take these steps to protect your health and reduce pollution.

Protect your health:

  • Reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. Ozone pollution can cause wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. Reduce outdoor activities or schedule them before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • If you have breathing or heart problems, keep medicines close by, and check on others who may have similar conditions. People with health problems may be more affected by ozone pollution than others.

Reduce pollution:

  • Carpool, bike or use public transit. The Ride KC bus and Ride KC Streetcar routes are free.
  • Avoid mowing or using other gas-powered garden equipment. In one hour, a gas-powered push mower emits as much pollution as driving a newer car 140 miles.
  • Avoid refueling your car. If you must refuel, wait until after 7 p.m. This allows fumes to dissipate overnight, making it less likely that they will contribute to ozone pollution the following day.

For more pollution-reducing tips, visit MARC.

Photo: Flickr / CC