Clean air? We’ve got this.

People boarding a bus for their daily commute.

The Kansas City region had a lengthy and persistent winter, but we are now experiencing longer days and warmer temperatures. While the warmer days provide opportunities to get outdoors, warmer temperatures also increase our risk of ozone pollution.

Between March 1 and Oct. 31, MARC issues the SkyCast, the region’s daily air quality forecast. When an unhealthy amount of ground-level ozone is expected for the next day, the MARC Air Quality Program will announce an Ozone Alert. Follow the SkyCast at airqkc.org or on Twitter.

During the warmer months of the year, the Kansas City region is likely to experience elevated ground-level ozone pollution, which occurs when emissions from vehicles, industry, lawn and garden equipment, and other sources interact with heat and sunlight. Ozone pollution can cause wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing even in healthy adults.

Fortunately, we can take steps to reduce ozone pollution and improve our regional air quality. You can help reduce emissions that can lead to pollution by carpooling, taking the bus, postponing mowing and refueling vehicles after 7 p.m. Biking and walking are also great alternatives to driving, and both produce zero emissions.

If you or your coworkers have a competitive streak, join the Green Commute Challenge, a friendly competition to reduce the number of single-occupant cars on the road and improve air quality. The challenge begins June 1 and continues until Aug. 31. Team members log commute trips taken by carpool, vanpool, bus, streetcar, biking or walking — instead of driving alone — to earn points and become eligible for prize drawings.

For information, contact Karen Clawson, Air Quality Program Manager, 816-701-8255 or kclawson@marc.org.