Bucks County’s Memorial Day weekend revived several signs of summer: time outdoors, burgers on the grill, a backyard pool dip, and a fresh cut to the lawn. But it also brought back an unwelcome development: the declaration of a “Code Orange” ozone warning from the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, using its Air Quality Index (AQI).
The May 31 action covered the entire region: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, as well as the city itself.
According to the state’s press release, the combination of sunny skies and mid-90s temperatures drove ozone concentration levels into Code Orange territory.
Air quality at that level triggers an AQI “Action Day.” Young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised respiratory system — diagnoses of asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, etc. — should actively revise behaviors when these days are identified.
The AQI scale measures the presence of pollutants on a scale of six colors:
On a designated Action Day — those days on which pollutants register 101 or higher (orange through maroon) — residents are strongly encouraged to:
- Reduce automotive emissions by:
- Taking public transportation
- Combining errands into one trip
- Limiting engine idling
- Refueling vehicles after dusk
- Conserving energy by:
- Setting home air conditioners to a higher temperature
- Turning off lights that are not being used
A free, downloadable brochure explains more about the Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Index.