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May 6, 2011 > Spare the Air smog season begins

Spare the Air smog season begins

Submitted By Kristine Roselius

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the Bay Area, announced the start of the Spare the Air smog season on May 2. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Spare the Air program.

Through the Spare the Air program, Bay Area residents are encouraged to reduce air pollution every day by reducing driving, keeping their vehicles maintained, carpooling, taking transit and walking and cycling.

"Since 1991, the Spare the Air campaign has encouraged Bay Area residents to reduce their driving which contributes to more than half of our region's air pollution," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. "Residents can do their part to reduce air pollution by making a commitment to not drive one day per week."

To mark the 20th anniversary, the Air District's Facebook and Twitter sites will feature Spare the Air facts and trivia throughout the summer season that will show the air quality progress in the region since the program's inception and offer tips for reducing emissions.

Spare the Air health alerts are issued when ozone pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. Ozone, or smog, can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions.

Tailpipe exhaust from the millions of cars on Bay Area roads has been the largest source of smog in the Bay Area. Smog is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight.

For more information and to sign up for email AirAlerts to check the daily air quality forecast, visit or call 1-800-HELPAIR (435-7247).

For more information about the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, visit

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