Summertime definitely means fun in the sun, however, the heat and sunlight can mix with volatile organic compounds to produce ground-level ozone. Pollution from vehicles, businesses and power plants combines in the presence of sunlight creating ground-level ozone – known commonly as smog. Typically, ozone pollution is a problem in the hot summer months from late May to early September when sunlight and higher temperatures speed up the formation of ground-level ozone. Ozone levels from the combustion of fossil fuels tend to rise mid-morning, several hours after the rush-hour and peak in the late afternoon.
Simple everyday steps can help reduce the emission of harmful pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog.
Ozone-reducing activities include:
- Keep tires properly inflated.
- Use mass transit, carpool, bike or walk.
- Do not top off gas tanks. Stop at the first click.
- Do not use gas-powered lawn equipment on hot, sunny days with little or no wind. Consider waiting until early evening to mow your lawn.
- Conserve energy by turning off lights and appliances when leaving a room to reduce emissions from power plants. Purchase Energy Star® appliances.
- Set goals to reduce utility bills by two percent. This can save money and protect air quality.
The department maintains and collects data from air monitors across Missouri to see if Missouri’s air quality meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Visit the Air Pollution Control Program for more information.