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Pollution, traffic congestion stock

Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued an Air Quality Action Day for Sunday and Monday in Northwest Indiana.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is warning of poor air quality due to high ozone levels expected Saturday throughout the Region.

IDEM has issued an Air Quality Action Day for Saturday across Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. 

IDEM cautioned senior citizens, children and people with respiratory conditions to limit outdoor activity that day due to forecasted high ozone levels. Anyone with a heart or lung condition should avoid strenuous work outdoors.

"Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather bake vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties," according to IDEM. 

IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce ozone by making simple changes to their daily habits. You can:

  • Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation.
  • Avoid using the drive-through and combine errands into one trip.
  • Avoid refueling your vehicle or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 p.m.
  • Turn off your engine when idling for more than 30 seconds.
  • Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the air conditioner to 75 degrees or above.

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IDEM's forecast also covers counties in central, west central, southeast and southwest Indiana.

The state department examines weather patterns and current ozone readings to make daily air quality forecasts. To learn more about ozone or sign up for air quality forecasts, visit smogwatch.in.gov.

Gallery: Severe weather in Northwest Indiana

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.