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Code Orange Smog Alert Issued for Today, May 11

People sensitive to the air quality are urged to limit their outdoor activity in the late afternoon and early evening.

The Georgia Clean Air Campaign has issued a smog alert for Wednesday, its second code orange alert of the year.

The orange alert means the air quality is considered to unhealthy for sensitive groups -- including the elderly, young children, and people with heart or lung disease --  and the GCAC recommends that people in these groups limit outside activity during the late afternoon or early evening, when ozone concentrations are highest.

The GCAC forecasts that the air quality index today will be 108.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) has five color-coded levels: green or good (AQI 0 to 50), yellow or moderate (AQI 51 to 100), orange or unhealthy for sensitive groups (AQI 101-150), red or unhealthy  (AQI 151 to 200) and purple or very unhealthy (AQI 201 to 300).

The Clean Air Campaign issues smog alerts on days when the concentrations of either ozone or particle pollution -- or both -- are expected to reach unhealthy levels.

According to the GCAC, cars and trucks cause half the smog-building emissions. Here are some commute options suggested by the organization to reduce the problem:

  • Carpooling: Aside from reducing pollutants and traffic, you can cut commute costs in half. Being able to use HOV lanes can save time and aggravation.
  • Vanpooling: The ARC’s RideSmart database has more than 50,000 commuters looking to share the ride, and will match you with others who work and live near you. The Clean Air Campaign says each vanpool can keep 10 cars off the road each day.
  • Transit: Using transit can reduce air pollution and traffic, and save money.
  • Telework: Working from home, says the campaign, can help you be 10 to 20 percent more productive than being in the office. It also means no traffic.
  • Bike or Walk: More than 20,000 residents in metro Atlanta bike or walk to work. The Clean Air Campaign says nearly 25 percent of our trips are less than one mile from home. Walking or biking are healthy alternatives.
  • Rearrange your work schedule: Driving at off-peak rush hour times saves drive time and avoids having to sit in traffic with your engine running (and produced less pollutants).

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