NEWS & RESOURCES
Smoggy Air? Breathe easy with tools and resources to help protect your health
Air quality affects how you live and breathe. It is important to know about your local air quality, how you can help make a difference and how you can protect your health from polluted air.
With this roundup of helpful tools and resources you can now quickly identify your local air quality, determine appropriate outdoor activities, protect yourself from the health risks of pollution, and make a difference to improve our air and environment by reporting smoking vehicles.
Check the Air Quality Index when planning activities
The AQI, Air Quality Index, is an excellent real-time resource (www.airnow.gov). It is a scale that reports daily air quality in your area. The report indicates how clean or polluted the air is and addresses health hazards based on the report. The AQI is divided into categories and colors to make it easy to understand the daily forecast in order to plan your outdoor activities accordingly.
Reducing your exposure to unhealthy air
Ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health. Ozone, also known as smog, can irritate your respiratory system, reduce lung function and trigger asthma attacks. Airborne particles can get deep into your lungs and cause serious health problems. Even if you are healthy, you may feel irritation in your eyes, nose, throat and chest if exposed to this pollution.
People at the greatest risk from these two types of pollution are those with heart or lung disease, older adults and children. You can take some simple steps to reduce your exposure to unhealthy air. Staying inside, wearing a pollution mask and avoiding or greatly reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion on high-risk days.
Be a Smog Spotter
In addition to protecting yourself from unhealthy air, you can join the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles in the movement to help stop the problem up front. It starts with you becoming a "Smog Spotter." When you see a vehicle emitting pollution, you can report it to 844-END-SMOG or online at smogspotter.com - not while you're driving of course! Make a report and make a difference in improving air quality.
The Nevada DMV receives roughly 10,000 smoking vehicle reports each year. The goal is that the Smog Spotter website will help increase these reports, as well as awareness about keeping Nevada's air clean.
After receiving a Smog Spotter report, the Nevada DMV's Compliance Enforcement Division sends an advisory letter to the registered owner of the smoking vehicle. If law enforcement or DMV staff makes a report, the registered owner will be instructed to present the vehicle at a DMV Emissions Control Lab for inspection. Failure to comply can result in cancellation of the vehicle's registration or a hold on its renewal. If the letter does not require the vehicle to be inspected at the DMV Emissions Lab, the registered owner must check the vehicle and make any necessary repairs to reduce excessive emissions. Improperly tuned and excessively worn engines not only cause air pollution problems, but they waste fuel and can result in higher operating costs. Additionally, law enforcement officers may issue citations for excessive smoke.
Motor vehicles are the primary source of air pollution in Nevada. The toxic chemicals that our vehicles emit contain air particulates that contaminate the ozone and pose a real threat to the health of all Nevadans. But, with the Smog Spotter reporting tool we can make a difference and help reduce emissions, improve air quality and clean up our environment.
Pollution negatively affects us all. Stop breathing unhealthy air and take a stand with Smog Spotter to improve your local air quality. Your health and the environment will thank you!