Saturday’s Spare the Air day marks the 18th designation of poor air quality in 2018, surpassing the total of 17 days last year. Sunday has also been designated as a Spare the Air day and will be the 19th for the year, officials say.
Along with 2017, there were a total of 17 Spare the Air Days in 2016. This year’s total is the highest since 2002, which had 22 total designated days.
Saturday’s Air Quality Index forecast is 133, deemed by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups are children, the elderly and those with respiratory and heart conditions.
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The designation of a Spare the Air day is determined once ozone levels exceed a given threshold.
“Seventy percent of air pollution in the summer is caused by vehicle emissions,” said district spokeswoman Jamie Arno.
Because vehicles are the largest contributors to ground-level ozone formation, the district asks Sacramento residents to reduce their driving as much as possible. Residents should try to minimize the number of trips they make in their cars.
Smoke transported into the region may also be enhancing ground-level ozone formation.
Ozone levels are the highest between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m., and Arno says those interested in exercising outdoors should do so in the morning.
“Sensitive groups should refrain from heavy outdoor exertion when ozone levels are at their highest,” she advised.
Area residents can download the Sacramento Region Air Quality app and can sign up for email alerts by going to sparetheair.com, clicking on the “Air Alert Sign-Up” tab on the left side of the screen and entering an email address.