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Central Ohio on alert Monday for 'Air Quality' warning

ODOT changed highway signs to warn people of the air quality alert, asking drivers to refuel after 8pm to help (WSYX/WTTE)

The Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission issued an Air Quality Alert Monday for the six county region: Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Knox, Madison, and Licking. Officials said these counties are likely to experience ground-level ozone pollution levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

With temperatures soaring into the nineties, ozone formation is enhanced.

MORPC air quality program supervisor Eveyln Ebert said the pollution is formed "when emissions from cars and trucks, as well as power plants react in the presence of heat and sunlight and form this ground level ozone pollution that makes it really difficult for sensitive groups of people to breathe. So we had a build up of pollutants, and these really hot temperatures the last couple days with today temps in the nineties that is going to really create the elements for ozone pollution formation."

MORPC suggests people combine trips and make sure they are not fueling up if they don't need to. "When each of us chip in we can do our part to breathe cleaner air and it is especially important for those vulnerable groups of people who really struggle during these high ozone events," said Ebert.

Coleen Wesley, a nurse at the Breathing Association said for some children it with asthma or other health issues it is simply not safe to play outside during these hot days. "We definitely want to try to stay indoors ,keep the windows closed , the AC on , that includes the car as well because those particles, once they start to breathe them in can cause some breathing irritation." Wesley said the elderly are also more vulnerable during the alerts.

Signs were posted in locations around the city reminding drivers about the Air Quality Alert. They asked people to wait to fill up their gas tanks until 8 pm when the daytime heat has diminished in order to help reduce pollution.

MORPC also asked people to avoid mowing their lawns on alert days. "Longer grass is your yard is good for the air, as well as the lawn," said Ebert.

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