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BREAKING: Bad air quality restricts activities

Due to the bad air quality in the Fresno/Clovis basin, an air alert has been issued by the National Weather Service for the Central Valley, Sept. 29. The warning has been called because the area does not meet the federal restrictions for ozone levels.

The alert might extend an additional day until Sept. 30. The decrease in temperature, forecasted to be 97 degrees Fahrenheit today and drop to 87 degrees, Oct. 1, will make breathing easier and improve air quality.

The warning is in effect for the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin, in addition to some parts of the Kern County area.

Member on the Board of Healthier Living for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Sheri Bohigian, advises precaution for drivers.

?We suggest to school that parents who are picking up and dropping off students do not idle their cars in the parking lots,? Bahigian said. ?Admissions are forming and are adding to the air pollution; 80 percent of pollution is caused by driving. You can make the air quality better by stopping a block away from school and having your kids walk the rest of the way, or by carpooling. Also, bring your lunches to school or work instead of driving somewhere, stay in one place.?

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District encourages people to think ahead when driving today so as to help the air become less polluted.

?Reduce trips by linking errands,? Bohigian said. ?If you have to go several places, don?t go home in between. Anything you can to encourage better air quality. For students, don?t accelerate their cars too fast, slam on your brakes, or top off your car gas. Drive steady and keep your tires inflated.?

Schools are suggested to cancel sports practices or plan the strenuous activity, considering to the air quality. Athletic administrative assistant Michelle Regnerus explains why the school is not canceling sport practices today.

“We only cancel practice when the AQI (Air Quality Index) is unhealthy or very unhealthy,” Regnerus said. “When it’s unhealthy for sensitive groups, we allow those who have asthma or other health issues to sit out, but we won’t cancel practices.”

For immediate updates, Bohingian suggests visiting the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District website and read the information on the Real-Time Air Advisory Network (RAAN).

?Generally, the air quality is worse in the afternoon and evening, but it?s up to the school to determine how they want to handle it,? Bohigian said. ?You can check out our website and read the information on Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN), which sends emails out to let people know the air quality. The reason why we tell people to cancel sports practices is for the health of the students, and for students who have health issues.?

For more articles on the Central Valley’s air quality, read the March 6, 2008 article, Living inhaler dependent.

Maddie Yee and Tynin Fries contributed to this article.

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