The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has issued an Air Quality Action Day (AQAD) and is forecasting high levels of fine particles (PM2.5) in the air for Sunday, June 28, in the following areas:
- Central Indiana – Marion, Bartholomew, Boone, Brown, Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Monroe, Morgan and Shelby
- West Central Indiana – Vigo
IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce PM2.5 while remaining safe during the COVID-19 health crisis by making changes to daily habits. You can:
- Avoid burning wood in fireplaces or wood-fired boilers
- Reduce activity time outdoors to reduce unhealthy exposure to PM2.5 and avoid exercising near busy roads
- Combine errands into one trip
- Avoid using gasoline-powered lawn equipment or gas-powered recreational vehicles
- Turn off your engine when idling for more than 10 seconds (e.g., at a bank or restaurant drive-thru)
- Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the air conditioner to 75 degrees or above
A dust cloud blowing across the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert in Africa has been impacting air quality in the southeastern U.S. and it is expected to reach Central Indiana this weekend. Sensitive groups, including children, the elderly, and anyone with cardiac (heart) or pulmonary (lung) problems should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors while the PM2.5 AQAD is in effect. If breathing becomes difficult, go indoors and contact your health care provider.
PM 2.5 is composed of microscopic dust, soot, liquid droplets and smoke particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller. The human hair is 75 microns wide. PM2.5 deposits itself deep into lungs and cannot be easily exhaled. Those at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high PM2.5 exposure.
IDEM examines weather patterns and PM2.5 readings to make daily air quality forecasts. To learn more about PM2.5 or sign up for air quality alerts, visit www.SmogWatch.IN.gov.