Why Do We Need Air?
Did you know that humans take 23,000 breaths every day? We need to breathe
in order to get oxygen from the air for our lungs, heart and blood to
survive. When air is dirty, it can make it hard to breathe and sometimes,
it can make you sick! Plants and animals also need air because they breathe
How Does the Air Get Dirty?
Dirty air comes from pollution. Pollution comes from human-made sources
like cars, trucks and smokestacks. Some pollution comes from natural sources
like wildfires and volcano eruptions!
What is Ozone?
Ozone is a gas that can be both good and bad. In the upper atmosphere (way
above the clouds) ozone is good. This kind of ozone forms a layer that
protects us from the harmful rays of the sun, kind of like sunscreen.
Near the ground, ozone is bad. This kind of ozone forms when certain
types of pollution mix with sunlight and get trapped near the ground.
This ozone is called ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone is bad for
both humans and the environment. It can make you head hurt and it can
make it hard to breathe.
How do I Know When Ozone is
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) gives reports on ozone
everyday from mid-May to mid-September. When MDE gives a code red report,
that means that ozone is very strong! On code red days, kids should limit
outdoor play time and find other things to do inside. When the Maryland
Department of the Environment gives a code green report, that means that
it is okay to play outside.
What else does Air Pollution
Humans are hurt by air pollution, but we are not the only ones! Animals
like birds, butterflies and even fish can be affected by air pollution.
Dirty air can make it hard for plants to grow. Buildings and statues may
start to wear away too!
How does the Air get Clean?
Did you know that plants breathe too? Green plants use a process called
photosynthesis (sounds like foto-sin-the-sis) to turn carbon dioxide,
and other gases that are bad for us, into oxygen that we need. By taking
these gases out, plants like trees and bushes help clean the air. That
is one reason why it is so important to grow and protect these types of
plants. But they need our help in keeping the air clean!
Have you ever...
and trucks make pollution, but bikes, skateboards and rollerblades do
not. You help the air every time you use these things instead of riding
in the car!
trips are so long that you need to use a car or truck to get where you
are going. When people ride buses, there are fewer cars and trucks on
is called carpooling and it puts fewer cars on the road too!