Good to moderate air quality was forecast for most of the beginning and ending months of ozone season this year. But due to extreme heat and little precipitation, 23 Ozone Alerts were issued between June 9 and September 12 — more than double the number issued during the entire 2011 season. On Aug. 7, the region experienced the worst air quality readings since 2007, when ozone reached a level considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be unhealthy for everyone.
The Kansas City region is currently violating the 2008 EPA standard for ground-level ozone. The region anticipates a nonattainment designation next time the EPA goes through its formal redesignation process, likely to happen in the next two years.
Kansas City’s ozone season runs from April 1 through Oct. 31 when ground-level ozone is most likely to reach high levels making the air unhealthy to breathe. Throughout the seven-month season, the Air Quality Program issues a daily SkyCast predicting the next day’s ozone concentrations so people can take actions to protect their health and prevent air pollution.
Bike- and car-sharing programs like B-cycle and Zipcar, which both launched in Kansas City this year, reduce dependency on personal vehicles and provide transit riders a method to run errands or go to a meeting.