The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is forecasting high ozone levels on Sunday, July 17, 2011, in the following metropolitan areas:
. Michigan City-LaPorte - LaPorte County
. Northwest Indiana - Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties
. South Bend-Elkhart - Elkhart and St. Joseph counties
IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce ozone by making simple changes to their daily habits. You can:
. Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation.
. Avoid using the drive-through and combine errands into one trip.
. Avoid refilling your vehicle or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 p.m.
. Turn off your engine when idling for more than 30 seconds.
. Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the air conditioner to 75 degrees or above.
Anyone sensitive to poor air quality may be affected when ozone levels are high. Children, the elderly and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.
IDEM examines weather patterns and current ozone readings to make daily air quality forecasts. To learn more about ozone or sign up for air quality forecasts, visit www.SmogWatch.IN.gov.
Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather bake vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties.
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.
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