This Living Local segment is sponsored by Alabama Partners for Clean Air.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local ) – Spring is here! Hot Alabama summer months are right around the corner.
Meteorologist, Matt Lacke, specializes in forecasting air pollution. He says the first week in May is perfect timing for National Air Quality Awareness Week.
“It’s a national campaign to let people know that air quality could be an issue sometimes during the summer months due to elevated levels of pollution,” Lacke said.
On days with elevated levels of pollution, an air quality alert is issued. Lacke says air quality is a public health issue, especially for children, the elderly, and those with heart or lung ailments.
“And even for healthy people,” added Lacke. “If they’re outside doing strenuous activities, like exercising or doing lawn work, it could affect them as well because they’re breathing in a lot of that polluted air.
Air quality forecasts are issued every day in the Birmingham area. These forecasts are based on the air quality index. “This is a color-coded scale that tells you how good or bad the air quality is. So when we are in the green and yellow ranges, air quality is deemed acceptable. When you get into the orange, red, and purple ranges, air quality is unhealthy,” Lacke said.
There are several easy things you can do to improve air quality.
Lacke suggested refueling your vehicle after dusk, using electric lawn equipment, riding in a carpool, and using a “trip chain” system when out running your errands. ” A trip chain is when you do all your errands at once and it actually helps air quality, and it saves you money on gas,” said Lacke.
Learn more at AlabamaCleanAir.org and view the Air Quality Forecast at the health department website JCDH.org. The Jefferson County Department of Health is a member of Alabama Partners for Clean Air. This is a collection of organizations throughout the Birmingham area to improve air quality.
Another partner is Commute Smart. Jeniese Hosey, Commute Smart’s Marketing Outreach Coordinator, said they are celebrating National Bike Month (May 20201).
“It is a great way to get out and relieve some stress. You can still be socially distant, you can be outdoors, and you get some exercise,” said Hosey.
Because of the pandemic, Commute Smart has adapted its traditional Bike to Work Day event to align with the current climate.
“We are encouraging people to #BikeThere. If you were still biking to work, that’s awesome. If you’re biking to the store, if you’re biking with family, if you’re biking with friends, if you’re biking by yourself, we are just encouraging people to get out and ride. And #bikethere so that they can enjoy the benefits of cycling,” Hosey said.
If you plan to “bike there,” take the pledge at B2Wbham.com. The organization is giving away a giveaway for people who take the pledge. “We just want people to get out and ride,” said Hosey.
For more information on Commute Smart, visit CommuteSmart.org.