The Office of Sustainability in Indianapolis has declared a Knozone Action Day for Thursday at the recommendation of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management following the fire at the Walmart fulfillment center in Plainfield.
This is the first Knozone Action Day in 2022.
In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the Office of Sustainability noted IDEM's concerns with lingering smoke in the area of Marion, Boone, Hendricks and Hamilton counties as well as "high particulate matter values" on Indianapolis' west side.
Knozone Action Days are declared when ozone or fine particulate matter levels rise above certain thresholds.
"During Knozone Action Days, the air quality may become unhealthy for sensitive individuals. These vulnerable groups, especially active children, the elderly, and anyone suffering from asthma, lung disease, COVID-19, or other serious health problems, should avoid spending much time outdoors."
IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce fine particles in the air by making changes to daily habits.
- Avoid burning wood in fireplaces or wood-fired boilers and any other unnecessary fires.
- Reminder: Indiana’s open burning laws make it illegal to burn trash and generally prohibit open burning. Visit IN.gov/openburning [linkprotect.cudasvc.com] for more information.
- Reduce activity time outdoors to reduce unhealthy exposure to fine particulate matter.
- Combine errands into one trip.
- Avoid using gasoline-powered equipment or gas-powered recreational vehicles.
- Keep your engine tuned, and don’t let your engine idle (e.g., at a bank or restaurant drive-thru).
- Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the thermostat to 70 degrees or lower.
"Air pollutants like ozone and particulate matter pose a public health and environmental justice issue as they can cause increased hospitalizations, asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and premature death, according to the American Public Health Association. 10.9% of Indianapolis residents live with asthma, and 8.6% of Indianapolis residents live with COPD; both these figures are higher than the national average."
Even if you can't smell smoke where you are, or if the smoke isn't visible in the sky anymore, that does not mean the particle matter is gone, said Dr. Nadia Krupp, a pediatric pulmonologist at Riley Hospital for Children.
"Anytime you inhale particles, into the lungs, it's very irritating to the breathing tubes. So you get a lot of mucous production, irritation, cough, swelling of those breathing tubes," Krupp said. "We've actually had more sick calls today in my office for kids with asthma flares. If you do have an underlying medical condition, say asthma or COPD, I would just check to see if you have your rescue medications with you today and tomorrow."
For more information on how to help improve Central Indiana’s air quality, visit https://knozone.com/actionday.
From IDEM: PM2.5 is composed of microscopic dust, soot, and liquid that settles deep into the lungs and cannot be easily exhaled. Those people at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high PM2.5 exposure. Additional information about how smoke from fires can affect your health is available on U.S. EPA’s website:www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/how-smoke-fires-can-affect-your-health.