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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.