By Mischa Arnosky
For the second day in a row, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued an “Orange Air Quality Action Day” for 13 Pennsylvania Counties including Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia.
This means those sensitive to air pollution may want to limit their outdoor exposure today.
According to a DEP press release issued Tuesday, the “action day” is due to fine particles in the air.
From the DEP: “Fine particulates become elevated when pollution from vehicles, industry, households and power plants combine with moisture droplets in the air and become trapped near the surface. During cold weather, fine particles rise when there is limited mixing (i.e. light winds) near the surface.”
The DEP is also asking that residents and businesses do what they can to curb the amount of fine particles entering the air by reducing or eliminating the use of fireplaces or wood burning stoves and by reducing car trips.
On Air Quality Action Days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities, the press release continued.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website, there were no “unhealthy days” last year for the “general population" of either Montgomery, Bucks or Philadelphia counties.
The colors in the air quality index, as used by the EPA are:
- Green, which signifies “good”
- Yellow, which means “moderate”
- Orange, which represents “unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people” and
- Red, which warns of “unhealthy pollution levels for all”