Tuesday Is A Spare the Air Day

Second smog alert of the year is issued for July 10 - no wood burning is permitted and use of gasoline powered equipment is actively discouraged.


Today, Tuesday, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the second Spare the Air Alert for smog in 2012.

Air quality in the Bay Area is has been classified as "unhealthy." Unnecessary driving and use of gasoline-powered equipment is discouraged. Free passes for rapid transit services, offered during past Spare the Air Days, are not being given out and a "no wood burning" ban is in place. The Air District recommends residents avoid outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, when air quality is unhealthiest.

“A Spare the Air Alert underscores the need for the public to make clean air choices every day,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “If we re-think our commute twice a week, we can reduce the amount of pollution we produce to help avoid unhealthy air on high heat days.”

The Air District encourages the public to re-think their commute by taking transit, carpooling, working from home or biking and leave their car at home twice a week to avoid air pollution that builds up and creates unhealthy smog when the Bay Area experiences high temperatures.

Spare the Air Alerts are issued when ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. Ozone, or smog, can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. When a Spare the Air Alert is issued, outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

Smog is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight. 
Residents can help Spare the Air by carpooling, taking transit, biking or walking instead of driving alone. Visit sparetheair.org or 511.org for more information about commute alternatives.

Residents can check for Spare the Air Alerts by:

• Visiting sparetheair.org 
• Calling the toll-free hotline 1-800-HELPAIR (435-7247) 
• Signing up for email AirAlerts at sparetheair.org 
• Downloading the Spare the Air iPhone or Android app 
• Connecting with Spare the Air on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (www.baaqmd.gov) is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. For more information about Spare the Air, visit www.sparetheair.org.

Andrew L. July 10, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Not that anyone would have a fireplace going today, but my understanding is that the ban on wood burning only applies during winter "spare the air" days.
Zoe Claire July 10, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Not exactly the best day for a toasty fireside conversation.
CJ July 10, 2012 at 07:14 PM
But it would be an excellent day for a charcoal BBQ of some tasy meat . Thus demonstrating the stupidity of the Spare the Air Day efforts. People will do what they need to do. Getting 10 people to ride their bikes out of some collective idea of shared guilt does nothing. Nada . Zip. Except bring about a cynical perception of the entire science (socalled) they use to justify future controls. Which is what this is designed to soft pedal.
Lissa Sorensen July 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I don't think its stupid at all. I can see a sort of film hang in the air on days like this. I hope your only kidding about the barbecue - maybe not, but it isn't ten people who'll be beathing your fumes, it will be hundreds and it only makes sense to put some sort of control on what we put into the air we all breathe.
Amanda July 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
CJ~People don't "need" to BBQ.
Andrew L. July 10, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Can I burn wood or other solid fuels in outdoor fireplaces, firepits or chimineas during a Winter Spare the Air Alert? No. Another Air District rule, Regulation 5: Open Burning, prohibits the use of outdoor wood-burning devices (including firepits and chimineas) and other recreational fires during a Winter Spare the Air Alert. Can I barbeque during a Winter Spare the Air Alert? Barbequing during a Winter Spare the Air Alert is not prohibited. However, the Air District asks all Bay Area residents to voluntarily reduce air pollution by making clean air choices every day. Reducing or postponing activities that pollute, including barbequing, when the air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, is one way to help reduce fine particulate emissions and improve air quality.
CJ July 10, 2012 at 11:11 PM
But I want to because I like it. This is called freedom.
Sara July 10, 2012 at 11:33 PM
I will take comfort in the fact that CJays freedom was protected when I'm in a full asthmatic arrest because of his fumes.
Peter Kendall July 11, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I heard on the news, earlier today, that tomorrow (Wed.) is also forecast to be a spare the air day as well...
Amanda July 11, 2012 at 05:12 AM
There are lots of things that I "like" to do, but I don't do them because NOT doing them is better for my community and my neighbors. I think you're confusing "freedom" with being rude and irresponsible. But go ahead, eat some charbroiled dead animals; you're not my neighbor.
Nicholas July 11, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Get your ride in early.
Douglas Home July 12, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Do any of you honestly think that curtailing your lawn mowing and BBQing will amount to diddely squat in protecting our health? This is almost as ridiculous as making us cut back on domestic water usage in a drought. It's nothing more than a guilt trip to feed us another rate hike or carbon tax. The amount of water usage and carbon output by Joe Citizen doesn't amount to 1 or 2 percent of the total. It's commercial/agricultural usage that is over 95%. They have strong lobbyists to protect their interests - and we don't. Just take a look at the Spare the Air website and see where the pollution is above the mark. It's always in Napa/Sonoma, but they still make all of us suffer. Now what's in Napa/Sonoma? Agricultural burning!
Douglas Home July 12, 2012 at 05:14 AM
That's just the kind of thinking they want from us. Don't buy it...it's all B.S. I grew up in Southern California and lived in the LA basin for many years. A good day was when you could see 500 ft. through the smog. Nobody stopped running or driving or mowing their lawns. And yet, the air is now exponentially cleaner than it was back in the 70's and 80's. Why? Mostly, because Kaiser Steel went out of business in Ontario. Smoke stack scrubbers helped, too. You see, it was entirely an industrial issue - certainly not because of Spare the Air days.


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