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2002 Challenge

Challenge #1

Ozone Action Partnerships in key regional areas in Pennsylvania sponsor programs to encourage people to take voluntary actions called Ozone Action Tips, which would reduce ozone concentrations on high ozone days.  PPL would like to maximize participation by the communities at large and particularly its employees in the suggested actions.

Ozone Action Partnerships

Ozone Action Partnerships have been established in the most populated regions of the Commonwealth, including Lehigh-Berks, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. The partnerships are made up of businesses, government organizations, community groups and individuals. PPL is a member of the Lehigh-Berks Ozone Action Partnership, which also includes the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and St. Luke’s Hospital as members. The goal of each partnership is to educate the public about the dangers of ground-level ozone and to encourage people to take voluntary actions to reduce their contributions to air pollution. To help accomplish this goal, a color-coded scale—red, orange, yellow, and green—is used to predict ozone levels. The color red identifies an Ozone Action Day. A list of Ozone Action Tips (see next paragraph) was adopted to help improve air quality on Ozone Action Days.

Ozone Action Tips

Here is a list of 10 easy ways to help improve air quality on Ozone Action Days. While these tips are entirely voluntary, they are important. Widespread participation by the general public and by PPL employees can make a difference in the air we all breathe.

1. Share a ride or take a bus to work.
2. Avoid the morning rush hour traffic.
3. For short trips, use a bicycle.
4. “Brown bag it” for lunch instead of dining out.
5. Combine errands into one trip.
6. Postpone refueling until after 7 p.m.
7. Don’t top off your tank when refueling.
8. Avoid using small gasoline engines like lawnmowers.
9. Use latex rather than oil-based paints and solvents.
10. Avoid using lighter fluid when grilling.

Background Information

Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, is formed when pollution from vehicles, industry, consumer products and power plants “bakes” in the hot, summer sun. Unlike the “ozone layer” in the upper atmosphere, which protects us from the sun’s harmful rays, ground-level ozone makes it hard for some people to breathe and can cause long-term lung damage.

During the ozone season, which lasts from May to September of each year, the Ozone Action Partnerships forecast “Ozone Action Days,” or days when the air is expected to be unhealthy to breathe. Using the color-coded scale, the Partnerships inform people about the predicted ozone levels and any precautions that need to be taken. The actions the Partnerships advocate are ones that reduce emissions that form ozone. Because human activity contributes to the ozone problem, Ozone Action Days are declared only for the most populated regions of the state.

PPL would like to maximize participation by the community at large and particularly its employees in the suggested Ozone Action Tips. To participate in such actions, people must know about them and any hurdles must be overcome. However, a thorough study has not been done to define to what extent people know of and participate in the actions suggested by the Partnerships. Nor do we have a thorough understanding of the hurdles to participation.

As an example, let’s examine using mass transit (buses) instead of personal vehicles. There are several reasons why more people don’t ride buses on high ozone days.  First, in order to increase the number of people riding buses on high ozone days, people need to know at least one day in advance that the next day will be an ozone day. After all, once people have already driven in to work, they will necessarily have to drive back.  Second, buses don’t travel to all locations, and many people may live some distance from the nearest bus stop. Third, many people probably do not know about the bus routes or bus schedules.

Using the list of 10 Ozone Action Tips, you should be able to come up with problems of participation for the other tips. A well-designed survey generating a high response rate will confirm your findings. These problems need to be addressed in the most effective and economical way if we are to be successful.

Suggested Research Areas

Information on the Partnership and the actions it advocates can be found on the Internet at www.ozoneaction.org. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Web site (at http://www.dep.state.pa.us/) also contains useful information.

PPL Expectations

We are looking for a thorough survey that will ensure an appropriate level of responses of community participation in Lehigh and Berks counties in the Partnership’s suggested actions, a comprehensive identification of the hurdles to participation, and creative ideas on how to overcome those hurdles in the least expensive way.

PPL Timeline

Written Proposal—You must submit your written proposal for the PPL Challenge by
January 15, 2003.

Oral Presentation—You will be notified by February 21, 2003 whether or not you are selected to give an oral presentation.

If you are, the presentation will be held on Friday April 11, 2003 at PPL Headquarters in Allentown, PA. You will be sent directions and an agenda.


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