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Temperatures are rising --summertime is almost here. For many it's the season for gardening, picnics in the park, relaxing around the pool, or taking long weekend trips to the beach.

While the sun beckons us to increase our outdoor activities, it also creates the perfect setting for ground-level ozone pollution -- a by-product created when unburned pollutants from tailpipe emissions, fuel evaporation and smokestacks bake in the sun.

As the days get hotter and the heat and humidity rises, it also brings the smog that often blankets the city and suburbs making the air we breathe less than healthful.

Most people are unaware that ground-level ozone, an odorless, colorless gas, can rob them of needed oxygen. To alert the public about the health and environmental effects of ground-level ozone, the Ozone Action Partnership has launched the fifth season of the multi-state Ozone Action Program.

The Partnership represents a coalition of business, government and environmental groups, representing Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who work collaboratively to inform the public of ways in which to improve and maintain the region's air quality.

The Delaware Valley's Ozone Action Partnership is part of a growing nationwide trend toward voluntary pollution prevention that unites industry and private citizens in a common goal -- cleaner air.

The 2000 Ozone Action Season kicked off with a reception and luncheon at the Sheraton Rittenhouse Square. Touting themselves as "America's First Environmentally Smart Hotel," the Sheraton promotes environmental awareness and leads by example through utilizing all organic or recycled products and fresh air supply grills throughout the hotel.

Emphasizing the importance of public transportation in reducing motor vehicle emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone, this year's event brought together nearly 100 state and local officials, business partners and members of the media.

In addition, awards were presented to Ozone Action partners for outstanding contributions to the Partnership and to a member of the media for consistent and dedicated coverage of the Ozone Action forecast. Recognized at the event were: DART First State, New Jersey Transit, WWDB, and Sunoco.

"There is no better way to reduce air pollution and protect our health than for communities to join together. Working together, government, business and citizens can take simple common sense steps to ensure that all of us will breathe easier this summer," said Bradley M. Campbell, Regional Administrator, EPA Region III.

Administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the summer-long Ozone Action Program alerts the public of ground-level ozone and forecasts Ozone Action Days when levels are unhealthy.

When an Ozone Action day is forecast, employers, the media and DVRPC spread the news, asking people to take cost-efficient, voluntary actions to reduce emissions by using transit or car pooling to work, refueling cars in the evening when the sun is down, and postponing lawn mowing with gas-powered mowers.

Additional information about the Ozone Action Program, as well as printed materials are available by calling DVRPC at 215/592-1800. A daily forecast is available via the Ozone Action Hotline at 800/872-7261. Also, see the DVRPC home page on the Internet at . Contact DVRPC's public affairs at 215/238-2875, if you would like to receive a daily ozone forecast via fax or e-mail.
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Publication:Industrial Environment
Date:Jul 1, 2000

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