Maine joins the nation in recognizing May 3 - 7, 2021 as Air Quality Awareness Week

May 3, 2021

Contact: David R. Madore, Deputy Commissioner

AUGUSTA, April 29, 2021 - The week of May 3rd - May 7th is National Air Quality Awareness Week and Maine DEP would like to remind residents that the simple choices we make each day affect our air quality. Whether it's driving the car, mowing the lawn, or even turning the lights on, we all contribute a little bit to air pollution.

Although Maine enjoys some of the best air quality in the nation, our air is still impacted by pollutants like ground-level ozone and fine particles that impact the lungs and heart. Ozone is produced in sunlight from pollutants in the air while Particle Pollution consists of direct emissions of pollution in addition to being created by chemical reactions in a polluted air mass. Maine's peak ozone levels occur during the warmer summer months, while particle pollution levels are higher mostly during the summer and winter months.

Maine DEP forecasts Ozone and Particle Pollution year-round and is available on DEP's website, via toll free hotline, EnviroFlash emails and text messages as well as on Twitter. Forecasts are issued using a color-based Air Quality Index created by EPA. Green - good; Yellow - moderate; Orange - unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people and Red - unhealthy pollution levels for all.

While sensitive people may feel the impacts sooner or at lower levels when the air is in the unhealthy for sensitive groups (USG) or higher category, everyone should think about ways to reduce their exposure. Please take some time to think about how you contribute to air pollution and what you can do to make a positive difference. Here are a few ways to help reduce air pollution in your community especially, on days when the air quality is expected to be unhealthy:

- Conserve electricity

- Choose a cleaner commute by carpooling or using public transportation where available

- Combine errands, reduce trips

- Defer the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment until early evening hours

- Limit idling

- Refuel vehicles after dusk

- Use environmentally friendly paints and cleaning products

For more information about Air Quality visit Maine DEP's website or follow air quality by region on Twitter at: Acadia-MaineDEP Portland-MaineDEP Lewiston-MaineDEP Bangor-MaineDEP