Illinois EPA celebrates Air Quality Awareness Week - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Illinois EPA celebrates Air Quality Awareness Week

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CHICAGO (WREX) -

Air Quality Awareness Week is a nationwide effort, but the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is joining in on the celebration by providing residents with air quality tips and alerts.

The week runs from April 30 to May 3 and aims to educate residents on air quality concerns and encourage them to check their local air quality forecasts.

Each day of the week has a special designation:

  • Monday: Air Quality-Important at Every Age
    • Young children and senior citizens are more susceptible to ozone or particle pollution exposure
  • Tuesday: Air Quality Matters Everywhere
    • Ozone and particle pollution are not only common in urban areas, but rural as well
  • Wednesday: Get Outside: And Use the Air Quality Index
    • Use the Air Quality Index to plan your outdoor activity, much like a weather forecast
  • Thursday: Help Your Neighbors-Increase Air Quality Awareness Where You Live
  • Friday: Do Your Part-Reduce Your Contribution to Air Pollution
    • Come up with a plan to reduce your contribution to air pollution, like turn off lights you're not using, setting the thermostat a bit higher during warmer months, and take public transit when possible

Air pollution can pose health risks like asthma and lung problems and levels tend to rise between May and late September. Children, older adults, people with respiratory or heart diseases, and people who are active outdoors are more susceptible.

Some ways to protect your health include:

  • Planning high exertion activities during cooler times of the day
  • Reducing exertion or limiting the time of exposure
  • Taking public transit, carpooling, walking, or biking
  • Trying to plan driving trips for the evening when sunlight is not as strong, consolidating destinations, and avoiding idling
  • Turning off and unplugging electronics when they're not in use
  • Installing and properly setting a programmable thermostat
  • Switching to energy-efficient lighting
  • Buying environmentally friendly household products like cleaning solutions
  • Using a charcoal chimney instead of lighter fluid when grilling
  • Not burning leaves and other yard waste
  • Not using gas-powered equipment or fire pits on days when air pollution is elevated

You can sign up to receive air quality forecasts for the next day via email, text, or Twitter at illinois.enviroflash.info. More information on statewide air quality data can be found at the Illinois EPA website.

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