Air Quality Awareness Week is April 30-May 4 2018. During that week, try a green form of transportation — carpooling, transit, walking, bicycling or telecommuting. While you’re at it, post a selfie of your activity to social media with the hash tag #TryItDayDE.
What Causes “Bad” Ozone?
Ground-level or “bad” ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC. (Source EPA)
Air Quality Issues & Conformity
The Dover/Kent County MPO planning area is classified as non-attainment for ozone under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA). This means that ground level ozone in our area sometimes reaches levels that can harm healthy adults, but more often reaches levels that harm children and older citizens who are more vulnerable to ozone. Consequently, all of the MPO’s transportation plans and programs must demonstrate that the transportation system they create will not worsen the region’s air quality.
You can help, too!
Check out the 10 Simple Steps for improving air quality.
It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air
Ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sunlight and high temperatures combine. High levels of ozone can harm the respiratory system as well as affect crops and vegetation. By reducing VOCs and NOx, ozone formation is reduced.
About one-third of Delaware’s VOCs and NOx emissions come from on-road mobile sources, mainly passenger vehicles. In fact, the total number of cars in Delaware can pollute as much as, or more, than Delaware’s combined industries. The level of motor vehicles emissions, or pollution, is directly affected by how we drive and maintain our vehicles. Driving smarter and choosing other forms of transportation can decrease pollution.
Keeping vehicles well-maintained can make them burn fuel more efficiently, producing less pollution. It also lowers repair and fuel costs, and helps vehicles last longer. The Dover/Kent MPO’s mission is to help ensure our air is clean and our community continues to be a great place to live and do business.
The MPO works with community leaders, businesses, residents, transportation organizations, health advocacy groups and local governments. The goals are to:
Educate our friends and neighbors about local transportation and air pollution issues and how they are related
Encourage individual choices that can help reduce air pollution and traffic congestion
On the national level, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the EPA’s Office of Mobile Sources have identified this issue as a priority. They are addressing it in a number of ways, from building a national coalition and partnering with local community organizations, to developing materials that support positive, voluntary actions related to transportation and air quality.