The City of Wichita is close to violating ozone standards again prompting an air quality alert. Ozone concentrations on Thursday and Friday in Sedgwick and Sumner Counties exceeded allowable levels, raising concerns for the fourth week this summer about health consequences and possible federal sanctions.
Wichita's Environmental Initiatives Director Kay Johnson say continued violations of ozone standards could cost taxpayers money. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards. "Although we can't control the ozone that is transported to us from other areas, residents can make a difference by maintaining acceptable ozone levels," Johnson said.
Residents can help by following these tips.
- Drive as little as possible. Car pool, use public transit or telecommute.
- Reduce idling; avoid congested traffic areas if possible.
- Refuel your vehicle in the evenings and do not top off the tank.
- Avoid using gasoline powered trimmers and leaf blowers. .
Children, elderly and people who have underlying lung diseases such as asthma are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.
To avoid experiencing these effects, vulnerable residents should limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone levels are highest. Outdoor exercise and activities should be scheduled in the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms should consult their doctors.