Watch CBS News

Code Orange Issued For Unhealthy Air Quality In Pittsburgh Area

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A Code Orange Air Quality Action Day was issued for Tuesday. Air quality continues to be a hot button issue for the area.

According to the Breathe Project, our area has ranked among the 10 worst areas in the country for some portion of the day in 51 of the last 100 days. The group says this needs to stop.

"Everybody wants to see our air quality improve and for people to play by the rules," Breathe Project Executive Director Matt Mehalik said over Zoom.

He said people should not have to worry about going outside and breathing in the air. According to the Allegheny County Health Department, we have had six this year. The breakdown is three in May, two in June and one in July.

"We have the right to live without risks to our families. To be able to have nice outdoor recreation on beautiful sunny days," Mehalik said.

In terms of air quality, Code Orange ranks as not the worst, but it's still not good. It's unhealthy for some groups, including the elderly, those with respiratory issues and children. According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday had the perfect ingredients for it.

"Usually we see these ozone action days or Code Orange days for ground ozone issues on very hot afternoons like we have this afternoon," Fred McMullen with NWS Pittsburgh said.

That ground ozone traps smoke and pollutants from factories, your car and even lawnmowers.

"For folks who want to mow their lawn, even though it's hot today, it's probably not advised to mow the lawn today to help get those ground ozone levels down," McMullen said.

That's why the Breathe Project is pushing for action to be taken to stop polluters and hold them accountable.

"People want to be here. People want to live here. We have so many other wonderful things in our region," Mehalik said.

According to the organization, the Allegheny County Health Department and County Council are looking at bills to cut down on pollution and polluters, therefore preventing more days like Tuesday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.