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City Hall’s William Penn statue on a clear day. Courtesy Air Quality Partnership .
City Hall’s William Penn statue on a clear day. Courtesy Air Quality Partnership .

Why we should check the forecast every day

Irma checks the daily forecast for her grandmother.

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Cecilia checks it for her son who has asthma. Martin checks it to see how he’ll travel to work each day. Karina looks to see if she’ll be able to do her daily run. What forecast is so important? The daily Air Quality forecast!

Each day, predictions for the next day’s weather, combined with expected temperatures, define what the Air Quality forecast will be. When our air is projected to be clear, a “Green” code is issued. Pollution is worse when the weather is expected to be hot and still, so an Orange or Red code may be used. If a Green day is forecast, there’s nothing for us to do except go out and enjoy it. But when Orange or Red days are predicted, there are actions we can all take to reduce our time outdoors and NOT contribute to the problem, like:

  • Because vehicles account for 1/2 of greenhouse gasses, don’t drive your car or truck if you don’t have to - take transit or share a ride with a friend instead.
  • When you must drive, try to “trip chain,” doing all your trips and errands at the same time.
  • If you need to fill your gas tank, try to do it when the temperature will be at its coolest - late at night or early in the morning - and never “top off” your tank.
  • When you order online, try to choose the option with the fewest boxes.Consolidate or bundle your items to reduce the number of deliveries made to your house (saving trips and pollution).
  • Postpone mowing your lawn or using other gas powered equipment until the forecast is Yellow or Green.
  • Even if your community allows it, don’t burn leaves or garbage.

It’s especially important to be aware of the air quality for the older and younger people in your family, both of whom have a more limited lung capacity than the average adult, making them more susceptible to air pollution. Also, if you know someone with asthma, another respiratory or a heart condition, they may have more difficulty breathing on poor air quality days, too. Even those of us with healthy lungs and hearts can struggle when exerting ourselves outdoors on Orange or Red days.

In the United States, Latinos face disproportionate exposures to asthma-triggering indoor and outdoor air pollution, with nearly 10 percent of Latino children under the age of 18 suffering from asthma. Puerto Ricans have the highest incidence of asthma, at more than double the rate of non-Hispanic whites, while Hispanics overall are twice as likely to visit the emergency department for asthma, as compared to non-Hispanic whites (Environmental Defense Fund, 2015). So we need to look out for each other.

Each of us can help prevent “bad air” days, to help protect us all. For more information and daily forecasts, go to: www.airqualitypartnership.org.

 

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