An alarming announcement just crossed my desk: "The National Weather Service is proposing to terminate operational ozone predictions on or about March 5, 2013."
Why is this so important? The National Weather Service measures and predicts ozone levels, so that people across the country know when we are going to have poor air quality days, how bad they will be and how long they will last.
This service is used by various weather wire services that feed television and newspapers their information, and by emergency managers of weather information. Parents across the country use this kind of information to know when the air is dangerous for our children, so they shouldn’t go outside to play.
Despite all that, there is a very real possibility that entire service—which includes advisories on smoke and dust and was slated to include fine particles and sulfates from coal—may be taken down.
The government says they may have to shut this program down "due to the current fiscal environment."
We have a better idea. The fossil fuel companies responsible for ozone pollution are making record profits of billions of dollars, so why don’t they start funding the ozone prediction service?
Until that happens, this is exactly the kind of government service we rely on to protect our children’s health. Ozone triggers asthma, other breathing difficulties, stroke, and is bad for our hearts.