News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Consider your neighbor before you burn outdoors

Anyone who has ever glided over his neighborhood in an airplane knows how close we all live to one another and, hopefully, realizes how our actions affect each other.

That's why it's so important in this year's hot, dry summer that we follow the state's ban on open burning in Morgan, Lawrence and 10 other Alabama counties.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management has already issued one orange alert this year for the Decatur area and several yellow alerts for local air pollution.

An orange alert, which we had Saturday, means active children and adults, and especially people with lung or heart disease, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Yellow means unusually sensitive people should consider reducing their outdoor activities.

If you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing or breathing difficulty, you should reduce your activity level.

The alerts are based on ground-level ozone and airborne particles, which pose the greatest air-pollution threat to human health. Ozone is formed when emissions from cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Open burning contributes to airborne particles.

The state monitors local pollution levels with equipment in Decatur and Bankhead National Forest.

The current burn ban will continue through October. If you see someone violating the ban, call ADEM's local field office at 353-1713.

We all live closer to one another than we realize, especially when it comes to the air we breathe. Let's be good neighbors by obeying the burn ban.

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