Air Quality Action Days
The Air Quality Action Days program is a public outreach initiative of Clean Air Partners, a collaboration of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. The program encourages voluntary actions that reduce the amount of ozone-causing pollutants, especially on days when weather conditions are favorable for ozone formation. These are generally hot (90+ degrees), sunny days with little or no wind and no precipitation. Because heat and sunlight are important factors in ground-level ozone formation, ozone pollution is worse during the months of April through October.
What are the benefits of the Air Quality Action Days program?
Ozone smog adversely affects regional economic development, public health, and the environment. Health care costs, employee recruitment and productivity can also be negatively influenced. Employers can play a pivotal role in improving the region's air quality by becoming Air Quality Action Days participants. Participants receive educational materials for their employees, along with fax or email alerts between 2–3 p.m. the day before each Air Quality Action Day. They are then encouraged to distribute that information to their employees.
There is no cost to become an Air Quality Action Days participant, and participating employers are publicly recognized as good business citizens.
How do I become an Air Quality Action Days participant?
- Designate an Air Quality Action Days coordinator at your worksite. The duties of the coordinator will not require much time.
- Sign up with Clean Air Partners to become an Air Quality Action Days Participant. After signing up, you will receive a start-up kit, including materials for distribution to employees. Distribute the materials.
- When you receive notification of Code Red and Code Purple Days, pass the information on to employees.
What else can I do to help the region's air quality?
Aside from becoming an Air Quality Action Days participant, there are several other things employers can do to improve the region's air quality, including the following actions:
- Defer cleaning with volatile solvents until late in the day. When possible, use non-volatile and non-hazardous cleaners.
- Schedule structural painting for days when ozone smog is not expected to reach unhealthy levels.
- Postpone lawn mowing and other activities that use gasoline-powered equipment until a cooler day, or use electric equipment.
- Defer high-emission or batch production activities until evening shifts.
- Schedule low-emission operations on Air Quality Action Days whenever possible.
- Make water-based paints, stains and sealers your first choice. When using oil-based coatings, ask for low VOC products.
How can Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) help?
ATP makes it easy and convenient for you to establish and administer the Air Quality Action Days program by providing the following services:
- Providing information on the Air Quality Action Days program and answering any questions
- Consulting with and assisting you throughout the implementation process
- Sponsoring a workshop or seminar to explain the Air Quality Action Days program
How can employee participation be encouraged?
There are many ways to get the word out and encourage employee participation in an Air Quality Action Days program, including the following actions:
- Since motor vehicle emissions are the biggest contributor to air pollution, discourage single-occupant motor vehicle travel, especially on Code Red Days, by establishing a commuter benefits program.
- Encourage the use of transit, carpools, vanpools, telework, and other alternatives. Offer employee incentives to use alternatives.
- Offer incentives for employees to eat at the work site on Code Red Days, such as brown-bag seminars or business-sponsored lunches.
- Refuel business vehicles after sunset or not at all on Code Red Days.
- Promote teleconferencing instead of driving to meetings. Offer conference call options for all meetings.
- Post Air Quality Action Days information on internal web sites and in company newsletters.
- Send out e-mail notifications and reminders.
- Display posters and flyers in high-traffic areas within your office.
- Include information packets with paychecks or new-hire packets.