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Maricopa County urges less driving, more teleworking during extreme heat, high pollution

Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2023 - 10:28pm

The extreme heat in metro Phoenix is affecting air quality. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has scheduled an ozone high pollution watch for Thursday and Friday in Maricopa County.

Ground level ozone forms when two pollutants react in sunlight. Vehicles are the primary source, but pollutants also come from power plants, leaf blowers and paints. 

Exposure can cause itchy eyes, nose and throat, coughing, and respiratory issues. Air pollution can increase asthma attacks, aggravate bronchitis and impact the body’s ability to fight infection.

Maricopa County has launched a summer campaign encouraging people and businesses to commit at least one day a week to helping reduce ozone. Suggestions include driving less and teleworking, avoiding long lines in the drive-thru and getting gas during cooler, evening hours. 

In a press release, Philip McNeely, director of the Maricopa County Air Quality Department said, “Improved air quality is being achieved in Maricopa County through education, regulation, and incentive programs. The community’s participation is essential in the reduction of ground-level ozone. Committing to simple daily habit changes can reduce emissions and provide a significant contribution toward attaining cleaner air.”