INDIANAPOLIS — Stagnant air and smoke from wildfires burning in the western U.S. and Canada has made for days of hazy sunrises and sunsets in central Indiana. Now, the residual smoke and stagnant air are taking a toll on Hoosiers' air quality with Knozone Action Days being declared for Wednesday and Thursday.
During a Knozone Action Day, the public is encouraged to do what they can to reduce their contribution to the poor air quality. The Office of Sustainability said these are a few ways Indianapolis residents can help:
- Avoid vehicle idling, including when in drive-thru lanes or picking up carry-out.
- Use active forms of transportation like walking or biking.
- Utilize public transportation or carpool with services such as IndyGo or Commuter Connect.
- Combine errands to reduce your number of trips.
- Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the air conditioner to 75 degrees or above.
- Never burn trash. Burning trash is illegal in Marion County, and the rules and regulations for open burning are available on the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services' website.
The action day was issued for Wednesday and Thursday, the same days an Air Quality Alert is in effect. During these days the air quality forecast indicates elevated levels of fine particles will intensify in the afternoon and overnight in southern Indiana then on Thursday they will recirculate back across the state.
The Office of Sustainability warned air pollutants are a threat to public health as they can cause increased hospitalizations, asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and premature death, according to the American Public Health Association.
The air quality in central Indiana could become unhealthy for everyone. However, right now those who are most at risk are people more sensitive to poor air quality, such as children, the elderly and anyone suffering from lung disease, asthma, COVID-19, or other serious health problems. People who fall into these groups should avoid spending a lot of time outside.
These are the second and third Knozone Action Days that have been declared this year. Nine were declared last year, including one caused by increased particles from a Saharan Desert dust cloud blowing across the Atlantic Ocean.
For now, local air quality experts will be monitoring the smoke pollution and will call public health advisories as needed.