CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) joins EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in designating May 15-19 as Air Quality Awareness Week to educate people about air pollution and how it affects their health. The week marks the beginning of the summertime smog season and highlights the importance of being aware of local air quality conditions and of taking steps to protect your health, if necessary.
"During a typical summer, New Hampshire experiences several days when the air is unhealthy due to elevated levels of either ozone (better know as smog) or small particle pollution," said DES Commissioner Michael Nolin. "It is our responsibility to monitor outdoor air quality and make sure this information is readily available to the public." DES collects real-time (continu-ous) information on outdoor air quality conditions at over 20 air monitoring stations throughout the state operated by DES, UNH and the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Nolin notes that DES uses the information collected at the monitoring sites to forecast daily air quality. "DES works very closely with EPA and other New England states to anticipate days when ozone or particle pollution concentrations are expected to reach unhealthy levels," Nolin said. "If unhealthy conditions are predicted for the following day, we declare an Air Quality Ac-tion Day and issue health advisories alerting people of the symptoms of excessive exposure and what precautionary measures they can take to protect their health."
DES provides the air quality forecast information and monitoring data on its Web site at www.airquality.nh.gov and through a toll-free information line, 1-800-935-SMOG.
In a proclamation declaring May 15-19 as Air Quality Awareness Week in the State of New Hampshire, Governor John Lynch encouraged all New Hampshire residents and businesses to take actions to minimize air pollution and protect our clean air and environment. These actions include keeping cars and boat engines tuned-up, carpooling or using public transit, walking or biking, consolidating trips and errands, using environmentally safe paints and cleaning products and conserving electricity.