What is the Voluntary Ozone Action Program?
The Ozone Action Program is a voluntary driving curtailment and public education program coordinated by the Clean Air Coalition. It is a community-based program designed to reduce ozone-forming emissions caused by vehicles and other sources during the summer months in the five parish Baton Rouge ozone non-attainment area. This area includes East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Iberville and Livingston Parishes.
It consists of two basic elements -- The Ozone Action Day Program and The Baton Rouge Area Commuter Services Program. Area employers will be informed of the Ozone Action Program and provided with a menu of options for participating in the program. Technical assistance will also be provided, if needed, for implementation of selected options. An incentives program will provide recognition for those participating in the program.
The Ozone Action Day Program
Based on a prescribed decision-making process, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will issue an ozone alert in the afternoon on the day BEFORE an elevated level of ozone is expected to occur. Announcements for an Ozone Action Day will then be broadcast through television and other news media. At the same time, a system of employer notification will advise participating employers to notify their employees before the end of the working day. Ozone Action Day coordinators at each employer would be notified by E-mail or fax. They then display the Ozone Action Day posters at exits to notify employees. Thye mat also be notifeid through announcements, E-mail, or printed notices. On the Ozone Action Day, organizations and individuals can voluntarily take planned measures to reduce emissions of ozone precursor pollutants. Following an Ozone Action Day, efforts will be made to estimate emissions reductions from the actions taken.
As part of its ongoing transportation control measures (TCMs) program, the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC) will provide local employers with information on TCM options that they might wish to voluntarily employ on an extended basis. Technical assistance with implementation of selected measures will also be provided. Estimates of emissions reductions realized through the extended TCM program will be documented. Why is this program important? Ground level ozone presents a significant air quality problem in the Baton Rouge area during the summer months. While acting as a protective shield in the upper atmosphere, ozone at ground-level is a major element of urban smog. Ozone can lower resistance to diseases such as colds and pneumonia, damage lung tissue, intensify heart and lung disease, and cause coughing and throat irritation. At highest risk are children, the elderly, and those with heart or respiratory diseases. Elevated levels of ozone can also harm vegetation, farm crops, and forests.
What is its purpose?
The purpose of the Ozone Action Program is to decrease the formation of ground-level ozone during the summer in the Baton Rouge ozone non-attainment area. Ground-level ozone forms when pollutants from vehicles, paints and solvents, unburned fuel, and industrial sources "bake" in hot, sunny weather. The program warns the public about forecasted high ozone days, and asks for voluntary actions to reduce emissions of ozone forming pollutants.
Ultimately, achieving attainment for ozone (air quality better than the national standard) will result in a healthier environment for the region's citizens and work force, and make it more attractive for economic development and relocation.
What are the goals?
- Improve air quality through voluntary actions.
- Create public awareness and promote individual responsibility through education.
Provide credible measures of air quality improvement efforts.
How YOU Can Get Involved
Ozone Action programs have been implemented in many cities throughout the U.S. They are cost-effective and do not require new regulations or mandatory actions. The Ozone Action Program is entirely voluntary and depends on EVERYONE to share the responsibility. For more information, see the What You Can Do To Help fact sheet and the Ozone Action Program Coordinators "Tool Kit" for Employers on this web site. To become an Ozone Action Day participant, please contact the Capital Region Planning Commission (225) 383-5203; Louisiana DEQ at 225-219-3966. You may also email deqassistance@LA.GOV, or call RIDESHARE at (225)344-RIDE (7433).
The Baton Rouge Area Commuter Services Program