This CBS 42 Living Local post is sponsored by Alabama Partners for Clean Air

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – This week is Air Quality Awareness Week throughout the United States. In Jefferson County, we are showing you a few ways that you can make a big difference in our local air quality. 

We spoke with Matt Lakey, a meteorologist with the Jefferson County Health Department. 

“At the Health Department, we issue air quality forecasts for every single day of the year for the

Birmingham area. And this is based on something called the air quality index which is a color-coded-scale which tells you how good or bad the air quality is,” said Lakey. 

Lakey says that during the summer months, air quality alerts are sometimes issued. That means there are elevated levels of pollution in the air. 

“This is due to the area’s weather and topography. So, based on the Air Quality Index, when we get into the orange, red, or purple areas, we would issue an air quality alert. And on these days we would encourage people to curtail the amount of time they’re outside and take actions to help improve air quality,” Lakey said.

One way we can all improve the air quality is to have the emissions checked in our cars. Our Living Local team decided to have out CBS Storm Team Weather Alert Unit checked.

We met up with Wesley Speed with Alabama Partners for Clean Air. He serves as a vehicle emissions testing administrator.

Speed helped us place the testing probe into our vehicle’s exhaust pipe. We turned the car on, and let the machine measure carbon

dioxide, carbon monoxide, oxygen, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, and air and fuel ratio. 

“We’re realizing exactly what the engine’s doing, and the emissions system by the levels

that it is producing. At that point we can advise the customer what kind of problem they are having with their engine, if any problem at all, and we can tell them if it’s dirty or clean,” Speed said. 

You can find Speed testing vehicles at Express Oil changes throughout Jefferson County. The test is free. If your car qualifies, you might even be eligible for monetary compensation to reduce your car’s emissions. 

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