The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Air Quality Program has issued an orange Ozone Alert for Saturday, Sept. 7. This alert indicates that an unhealthy level of ground-level ozone, also known as smog, is expected tomorrow in the Kansas City region.
More than half of all emissions that lead to ozone pollution are caused by residents’ everyday activities, such as grilling. There are four simple actions everyone can take to help reduce pollution from grilling on Ozone Alert days:
1. POSTPONE COOKING OUTSIDE
Grilling of any kind contributes to air pollution. If you’re able, wait until it’s not an Ozone Alert day.
2. USE A CHARCOAL CHIMNEY INSTEAD OF LIGHTER FLUID
Lighter fluid has chemicals that can give your food a strange smell or aftertaste — and it pollutes our air. Using a charcoal chimney, which can be purchased at most hardware stores, is a quick, less-polluting way to light charcoal briquettes. Simply add a few sheets of crumpled newspaper to the bottom of the chimney, add briquettes and light the newspaper. Using a charcoal chimney often ignites briquettes faster than lighter fluid — and without the chemical smell or taste.
3. USE NATURAL CHARCOAL
Some conventional charcoals are made with chemicals and fillers that can produce toxic by-products. For better-tasting food and cleaner air, choose natural charcoal. Most popular brands have natural alternatives that are sold at conventional supermarkets or hardware stores.
4. CONSIDER AN ELECTRIC, GAS OR PROPANE GRILL
Grills that do not use charcoal are less polluting, light faster and heat food more evenly. When you replace your grill, investigate alternatives to charcoal grilling.
MARC issues the SkyCast, the region’s daily ozone season air quality forecast, on its website ( www.marc.org ) and on Twitter ( www.twitter.com/airQKC ). SkyCast information is also available via the air quality information line, (913) 383-7557, and many area media outlets.