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MAPA declares call to action day due to ozone forecast concerns

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Posted at 11:54 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 12:58:08-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Metro Area Planning Agency and the Douglas County Health Department have declared an air quality action day due to a higher ozone forecast. They say higher ozone levels can pose health risks to some people and have offered a number of tips to help mitigate the problem.

In their release they say:

The Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) and the Douglas County Health Department declare today an Air Quality Action Day. Higher concentrations of ground-level ozone in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area are forecasted for today.

The Douglas County Health Department forecasts ground-level ozone in the upper end of the “moderate range” of the Federal Air Quality Index (AQI) for today.

As a reminder, to help mitigate the ozone problem, everyone is urged to take the following steps:

  • Choosing cleaner-burning biofuels such as ethanol blends and biodiesel when refueling vehicles
  • Refuel at dusk or nighttime to avoid greater loss of fuel through evaporation
  • Avoid letting vehicles idle more than 30 seconds
  • Drive less by carpooling, walking, biking or taking the bus
  • Use electric or manual lawn equipment when possible, or use gas-powered equipment during cooler hours of the day.

Elevated ozone concentrations may pose a risk to the health of children, the elderly and those with chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.