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Air quality alerts and ways to help

Air quality alert issued for El Paso County
Air Quality Alert El Paso County
Posted at 6:49 PM, Jul 23, 2019

EL PASO COUNTY — The mountains in El Paso County played hide and seek today, but the haze was not joking around with the people down below. An Ozone Action Day Alert was issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for several Colorado counties starting on Monday at 4 p.m. and lasting until Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The alert said the air quality could be unhealthy for sensitive groups in other parts of the Front Range, but El Paso County was not one of them. For counties like El Paso, the alert asked residents to limit their driving until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to help with the air quality of neighboring areas.

News 5's meteorologist Sam Schreier said this alert was caused by "a lot of moisture in the air, kind of showed up as a haze out over the mountains, which is never good. Basically extra pollutants in the air like smog from cars is mixing with the moisture, the sun is making it into this pollutant, ozone, it's not good to breathe a lot of it."

Environmental Planner for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, Samantha Bailey, said Colorado Springs may not be too far off from the Denver smog. "Denver being a capital city, we're seeing more people populate to Denver, but that's also happening here in the Springs, so we're getting a little bit higher in relation to Denver versus decreasing," said Bailey.

Bailey also said there are many ways to help clear the air. "Riding your bike, carpooling would be a huge help, cause that reduces emissions by a lot when you coordinate carpooling initiatives," said Bailey.

Schreier also brought up an interesting way to help, which is pumping gas in either the morning or evening when the sun is not so hot.