To kick off Air Quality Awareness Week, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is encouraging Hoosiers to visit Indiana's SmogWatch Web site and sign up for air quality updates.
SmogWatch is a resource for Hoosiers to find out what the current air quality is as well as the air quality forecasted for the next few days. The site also contains information about ground-level ozone and particulate matter, health information, and monitoring data for seven regions of the state. The SmogWatch Web site can be found at www.smogwatch.IN.gov.
Air Quality Awareness Week starts today, April 27, and runs through May 1, 2009. IDEM joins the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) in promoting the week and encouraging Hoosiers to help keep air healthy.
Another tool in the IDEM arsenal is the state's continuous air quality monitoring network, known as LEADS. The LEADS Web site, www.idem.IN.gov/airfacts, offers access to near real-time data from air monitors statewide. Approximately 65 percent of Indiana's air monitoring network is now available via this system. The complete IDEM LEADs network will go online by December 2009.
Hoosier citizens and businesses can reduce the levels of ozone and particulate matter by making small changes to their daily habits:
. Carpool, use public transportation, walk or ride your bike as much as possible.
. Reduce how much you drive, especially during rush hour or on hot days.
. Park your car and skip the drive-through; limit engine idling time to 30 seconds.
. Turn off appliances and lights when not in use.
. Set your household thermostat a few degrees higher or turn off the air conditioner and open the windows.
Additional information about Air Quality Awareness Week can be found at www.airnow.gov/airaware/.
IDEM (www.idem.IN.gov) implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and our environment.