City officials have issued the first air quality alert for the year for Friday, July 11. That means that the Air Pollution Control District recommends that the elderly and very young and anyone with heart or lung problems should limit their activity outside during the heat of the day.
The problem is ozone, which forms when emissions from gas-burning vehicles and coal-fired power plants combine and are exposed to sunlight. And with little wind and high temperatures in the forecast, that ozone could hang trapped in the valley.
Air Pollution Control District spokesman Matt Stull says this first-of-the-year alerts comes later than last year, partly because there are fewer cars on the roads.
“Certainly the anecdotal evidence shows that people are driving less. I mean, TARC’s ridership is up. Weather conditions have a lot to do with this, we’ve seen this year a lot milder weather and when we have seen the heat, we haven’t seen as much pollution coming in from other areas,” Stull says.
Stull also says Louisvillians can help reduce ozone by driving less and using less electricity.