Residents Reminded to Help Reduce Ozone Pollution

Ozone season in the Dallas/Fort Worth area runs through October. What is ozone and what can be done to reduce ozone pollution?

Ozone is a gas that occurs in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. It can be good or bad, depending on where it is found.

Good Ozone – Occurs naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, 6 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. It forms a protective layer that shields the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Manmade chemicals are known to destroy this beneficial ozone. An area where the protective “ozone layer” has been significantly depleted—for example, over the North or South pole—is sometimes called “the ozone hole.” The Environmental Protection Agency has established regulations to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals in the United States.

Bad Ozone – In the Earth’s lower atmosphere, near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant.

Reduce the “bad ozone” or ozone-forming emissions by:

  • Using mass transit or carpooling.
  • Combining trips and traveling less.
  • Limiting or avoiding vehicle idling.
  • Observing the speed limit.
  • Bicycling or walking instead of driving.
  • Considering clean fuels and technology.
  • Reporting smoking vehicles.
  • Avoiding the use of small gas-powered engines (such as garden equipment) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Maintaining vehicles by getting them inspected, keeping tires properly inflated and changing filters regularly.

For current ozone activity visit www.nctcog.org/trans/air/ozone/current.asp.

Posted June 8, 2009