KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Orange Ozone Alert is in effect for the Kansas City metro for the third day this week.
The alerts are issued when air quality reaches unhealthy levels, making it more difficult for people to breathe.
Earlier this week, the alert warned people with lung diseases, like asthma, to limit time outdoors. On Tuesday afternoon, the alert expanded to include everyone.
“Unfortunately we’ve hit this hot patch of summer weather. The air’s been a little bit stagnant, it hasn’t been windy, an we’ve had a bit of pollution blow in from Illinois and further up north,” Tom Jacobs, MidAmerican Regional Council, said.
He also says it already looks like the air quality will be worse this summer than the past few years.
The poor air quality isn’t an issue that isn’t just impacting the Kansas City metro.
According to the World Air Quality Index, Detroit and New York are predicted to have some of the worst air quality in the world Wednesday.
The index shows Delhi, India, is the city with the worst — just 10 points away from being considered very unhealthy. The two U.S. cities came in second and third on the list for June 7.
A more extensive map shows there are smaller communities in the world suffering from worse air, but some of those are also near New York and Detroit.
Air in Detroit and New York is worse Wednesday than the air quality in China, Mexico City, Baghdad, and Vietnam, according to the index.
“It’s always a complicated answer to say, well what’s the cause of it? We contribute a lot of ozone-forming pollution here in Kansas City, so we are part of the problem. It’s also important to note under the conditions we’re dealing with now, there’s a lot of transport ozone in Kansas City from Illinois and perhaps as far away as the Canadian wildfire areas,” Jacobs said.
He points out that Kansas City can also be part of the solution.
MARC asks that people make several changes on an Ozone Alert day:
- Postpone mowing the lawn
- Help reduce emissions by walking, riding a bike, or carpooling to work
- Wait to get gas until after 7 p.m.
“Ozone is caused when oxides of nitrogen and volatile compounds interact on really hot days. Gas fumes like benzine and other things in gasoline help contribute to ozone formation. If we postpone filling up the tank, and we stop at the click, then our emissions of volatile organic compounds like those immitted from the tank are reduced,” Jacobs said.
MARC expects the air quality to improve as the temperatures drop later this week.