SkyCast forecasts poor air quality tomorrow

ozoneThe first ozone alert of the summer has been issued for tomorrow. The Mid-American Regional Council (MARC) says the alert indicates that an unhealthy level of ground-level ozone, also known as smog, is expected  in the Kansas City region.

For bus riders, that means The Metro, The JO, Unified Government Transit and IndeBus cut the cost of riding the bus in half on an Ozone Alert to promote healthier air quality. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority says by riding the bus instead of driving, people can help reduce the amount of ozone in the air. Area transit providers offer 75¢ bus rides during all Ozone Alerts between June 1 and September 30.

Experts at MARC are reminding residents that Ozone pollution can cause a variety of problems in healthy adults, including chest pains, coughing, nausea, throat irritation and difficulty breathing. They recommend that people who are sensitive to air pollution — such as children, seniors, and people with breathing or heart problems — should limit their exposure to outdoor air between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. They suggest that everyone should consider scheduling outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

At the same time, they are asking people to help reduce pollution by carpooling, taking the bus, postponing mowing and postponing refueling vehicles. MARC says more than half of all emissions that lead to ozone pollution are caused by the daily activities of residents — such as driving, doing yard work and grilling.

That’s because emissions from vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, and other sources react in heat and sunlight to form ozone pollution. Other environmental factors — such as warm, sunny weather, low wind speeds and lack of rain — increase the likelihood of poor air quality.

Some amount of ozone pollution is common during typical summers in the Kansas City region, but high concentrations of ground-level ozone result in violations of the national air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Although the region is currently in “attainment” for ground-level ozone — meaning that the area currently meets those standards — continued violations make it probable that the region will lose that status. If the EPA designates the Kansas City region as a “nonattainment” area, more stringent measures to reduce ozone pollution will be required.

MARC issues the SkyCast, the region’s daily ozone season air quality forecast, on its website ( and on Twitter ( SkyCast information is also available via the air quality information line, (913) 383-7557, and many area media outlets.

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