The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Air Quality Program has issued an orange Ozone Alert for July 29. This alert indicates that an unhealthy level of ground-level ozone is expected tomorrow in the Kansas City region.

The two most important things residents should do on Ozone Alert days are:

1. PROTECT YOUR HEALTH

Ozone pollution can cause a variety of problems, even in healthy adults, including chest pains, coughing, nausea, throat irritation and difficulty breathing. During extended stretches of poor air quality days, contact older adults, neighbors, family and those with respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema. For those with weakened immune systems, ozone can make the lungs more susceptible to infection and continue to damage the lungs, even when the symptoms have disappeared.

2. REDUCE POLLUTION

More than half of all emissions that lead to ozone pollution are caused by everyday activities such as driving and doing yard work. To help reduce pollution, postpone refueling your vehicle. Refueling vehicles can release harmful fumes into the air. If you must fill up, do so after 7 p.m. and stop when the pump clicks. Overfilling the tank releases more harmful gases into the air, and can result in spills or harm to your vehicle.

Ozone pollution is formed when emissions from vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, and other sources react in heat and sunlight. Other environmental factors — such as warm, sunny weather, low wind speeds and lack of rain — increase the likelihood of poor air quality.

Learn more about simple actions to reduce pollution and follow the SkyCast — the region’s daily air quality forecast — at AirQKC.org. MARC issues the SkyCast each afternoon from March 1 through Oct. 31. Find the SkyCast online at AirQKC.org and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/airQKC. SkyCast information is also available via the air quality information line, (816) 701-8287, and from many area media outlets.