Summer Spare the Air season begins

More than just a prelude to summer, the beginning of May is also the start of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's summer Spare the Air season, which began Wednesday, May 2.

The air alerts are issued when weather conditions and pollution levels combine to high levels of ground-level ozone or smog, which can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain. The smog can also trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema, according to the air district.

Ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight. According to the air district, tailpipe exhaust from millions of cars on Bay Area roads is the largest contributor to smog.

"Reducing the number of cars on our roads remains the biggest air quality challenge we face in the Bay Area," Air District Executive Officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement Tuesday.

On Spare the Air days, people are encouraged to take public transportation, work from home, or bike or carpool to work. Outdoor exercise should be performed in the morning on those days, when ozone concentrations are lower. Using electric-powered lawn and garden tools and linking errands to reduce driving can also help reduce pollution.

The air district encourages people to drive less year-round, but particularly on Spare the Air days.

"We are urging residents to re-think their commute and leave their car at home at least twice a week," Broadbent said. More information about the air alerts can be found at or

— Bay City News Service


 +   Like this comment
Posted by please
a resident of Downtown North
on May 2, 2012 at 10:29 am

Please take this seriously. Air pollution causes health problems for all types of people, but especially children and the elderly.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2012 at 10:37 am

Air pollution can do to you what it has done to the Acropolis.

You don't want to be like the Acropolis, do you?

Please, let's all be as thoughtful, careful and restrained as we can possibly be this summer (and always).

 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

When driving on any day, if a car/truck is polluting you should report the automobile, truck of motorcycle to 1 800 Exhaust. In the past, whenever I see someone polluting I report. I've even reported Palo Alto city automobiles that have been poluting. You would expect the city to know better.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

member - what do you mean by "polluting"? All of our vehicles pollute, so how do you determine which ones to call in? I've never been clear on the criteria, so thank you in advance!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by please
a resident of Downtown North
on May 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Report vehicles with visible smoke continuously pouring from their exhaust pipe: Web Link

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Thank you!

It seems that a hotline should also be set up to report morons driving since there are upcoming traffic enforcement cuts.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by please
a resident of Downtown North
on May 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Call 911 to report reckless drivers who are a clear and present danger to innocent road users. That includes drunk drivers, texting drivers, etc.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed-up
a resident of Mountain View
on May 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

When I get to be as old as the Acropolis, I will be happy to look like that.

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