The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments monitors and tracks regional air quality reports. These reports are done in coordination with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to meet the USEPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The standards apply to ground-level measurements of carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, course and fine particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide.

Ozone is the air quality pollutant of most concern in the Pikes Peak region. There are two types of Ozone; Ground Level and Ozone Layer. Ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that affects all of us. The ozone layer in the stratosphere is the good, protective ozone.

Ground level ozone is a health hazard for everybody, those who are active and exercising outdoors may experience breathing difficulties and eye irritation. Ozone can also trigger attacks and symptoms in individuals with pre-existing conditions, like asthma or other respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and is even more hazardous to seniors and children.

The Regional Air Quality Council in Denver and the Front Range created a program; Simple Steps. Better Air. (SSBA) – formerly OzoneAware. The program aims to create behavior change around air quality issues, and in doing so, motivate more Coloradans to take action in reducing ozone-causing emissions.
Some of the simple steps they suggests are:

 

  • Start with fewer car trips (bike, walk, take public transit, pack a lunch, shop online)
  • Combine car trips (establish an errand time or day)
  • Combine passengers on trips (carpool, vanpool)
  • Take public transportation (bus, lightrail)
  • Energize your ride (drive an electric vehicle, hybrid or fuel-efficient car)
  • Take steps at home (choose low VOC products, mow in the evening, use electric lawn/garden tools)
  • Challenge yourself (refuel car in the evening, stop at first click when refueling, keep your car well-maintained)

Find more simple steps to decrease ozone pollution at www.SimpleStepsBetterAir.org.

Ground Ozone is formed when everyday emissions from everyday items combine with other pollutants and “cook” in the heat and sunlight. Weather plays a key role in ozone formation. The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months when temperatures approach the high 80’s and 90’s and the wind is stagnant or light.

 

Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado, USA.

Through increased outreach and public awareness about ground-level ozone pollution, PPACG and our regional partners aim to create behavior change around air quality issues, and in doing so, motivate more Coloradans to take action in reducing ozone-causing emissions.