LiveGreen: Ozone - good up high, bad nearby

by Anne Rivas, LiveGreen | July 15, 2014

Image with file name: LiveGreenNew.jpg

High ozone days are here again,
Our asthma's acting up again,
Take the bus to work and back again,
Fifty cents is all you need.

Ozone season runs from April to October -- in other words, the time we like being outdoors. While ozone high up in the atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet rays, exposure to high levels of ozone at ground level can affect the lungs like a sunburn.

LIVEGREEN picture disc.
by Anne Rivas

Ground-level ozone is a result of nitrogen oxides combined with volatile organic compounds (the dreaded VOCs) and simmered in the summer heat. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents are major sources of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

Health effects of ground-level ozone include a higher frequency of asthma attacks, inflamed and damaged lungs and increased susceptibility to respiratory infection.

Paradoxically, the days when we need to bike or walk in order to keep ozone levels lower are also the days when outdoor exercise may pose a health risk because of the ozone level. So what should we do? One obvious solution is to take the bus, walk or bike on more than just the "high ozone" days, resulting in less overall air pollution.

Fifty-cent bus fares on weekdays in July make taking the bus a more attractive option. (Transfers are 25-cents -- still, what a deal!)

Biking or walking to work before the ground-level ozone has built up and then taking the bus home is an attractive and healthy option.

For information about riding the bus, click here.

For more information on ground level ozone and reducing emissions, go to the "Little Steps. Big Impact" website.

Cutting the levels of ozone by carpooling, bicycling, walking or taking the bus:

  • relieves parking problems.
  • relieves stress by creating "down time" to and from work.
  • improves the air quality in Omaha.
  • keeps the community strong -- physically, mentally and environmentally.

    "and you'll look sweet upon the seat..."

    You know the rest.


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    Anne Rivas
    July 15, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    I don’t consider it time added to my workday, instead it’s replacing the time I sit in a car with time spent either exercising or reading. Go to to compare the cost of driving vs. taking the bus, and for another employee’s experience riding the bus. The 50-cent bus fare is only on weekdays during July. Go to for details.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Thanks for the info! Have you found that taking the bus/biking has added a lot of time to your workday? Or is it about the same?

    July 15, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    Which bus costs 50 cents ? Metro costs $1.25 for regular fare. Even seniors pays 60 cents and have to have a Metro ID, meaning an out of town senior is required to pay $1.25!