SUMMER SMOG SEASON BEGINS;
NEW JERSEY CHARTS PROGRESS IN CLEAN AIR STRATEGIES
and regional officials kicked off the start of the summer smog season
today, noting that while progress is being made in reducing ozone levels,
air quality remains a serious health concern, and urged residents to take
steps to reduce emissions and the associated health risks.
"In our highly industrialized society, we're all part of the problem,
but there are simple steps each of us can take to be part of the solution,"
said Deputy State Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Tudor during
an awards ceremony in Philadelphia today designed to encourage more businesses
and agencies to participate in the Ozone Action Partnership, a tri-state
program to increase ozone awareness among employee groups and the general
While the summer ozone season normally runs from mid-May through September,
New Jersey has already had six days this month when the air was unhealthful
due to high ozone levels. Ozone, or smog, forms when air pollutants from
cars, power plants and other combustion sources combine in the heat of
the summer sun. Small children, the elderly, asthmatics and others with
respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to the effects of ozone,
which can decrease lung function even in healthy individuals.
According to new state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) figures,
from 1990 to 1996, emissions of ozone-forming pollutants dropped approximately
30 percent. In addition, a new federal report shows states in the Northeast
are reducing emissions of ozone-forming oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and are
on target for meeting federally-established NOx emission reduction goals.
New Jersey NOx emissions dropped from 15,390 tons in 1999 to 14,630 tons
in 2000. In comparison, New Jersey's NOx emissions totaled 46,963 tons
"By working with other states to reduce the amount of ozone-forming pollutants
that travel on prevailing winds from region to region, educating the public
about steps they can take to help reduce ozone formation, developing regulations
to further pollution controls, and focusing on energy efficiency and renewable
energy, New Jersey is on course to solving its ozone problem," said DEP
Commissioner Bob Shinn.
To reduce ozone levels and related health risks, businesses and agencies
can join the Ozone Action Partnership to be automatically notified when
ozone levels are expected to be unhealthful so workers can carpool, telecommute
or take other actions to reduce emissions and exposure.
Individuals are encouraged to consolidate trips, carpool, use public
transportation, limit use of gasoline-powered equipment such as lawn mowers,
and avoid car idling. It is recommended that healthy persons avoid strenuous
outdoor activity such as jogging, and at-risk populations reduce outdoor
activities. For more information, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/airmon/ozact.htm
To be placed on a list for electronic notification of unhealthy ozone
levels, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/airmon
and click on "Forecasts
Via E-mail." Residents also can tune in to New Jersey Network where
the Nightly News weather reports include local ozone forecasts, or call
the DEP Air Quality Hotline at 1-800-782-0160 for a pre-recorded message
on the day's air quality and tomorrow's forecast.