Mayor Jean Stothert proclaimed July is Ozone Awareness Month in the city of Omaha during a news conference for the Little Steps Big Impact ozone awareness and education campaign Tuesday, July 8th.

“Air quality affects all of us,” Stothert said.  “Whether working, playing or exercising outside, the quality of the air we breathe impacts the quality of life for our families, our businesses and even future development.

Stothert urged area residents to take small actions which help reduce ground-level ozone. “Mow your lawn in the evening when it’s cooler or use a manual or electric mower, blower or trimmer.”

Omaha mayor Jean Stothert spoke at Tuesday's press conference.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert proclaims July Ozone Awareness Month.

Russ Hadan of the Douglas County Health Department, MAPA Executive Director Greg Youell, Metro Executive Director Curt Simon, Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh and Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders, joined Stothert in calling attention to the dangers of ozone.

“It is well established that exposure to high levels of ozone at ground level can cause damage to lung tissue, particularly among the elderly and children; reducing pulmonary function and sensitizing airways to other irritants and allergens,” said Hadan, a laboratory scientist specializing in air pollution. “Many of us can take personal actions to reduce the amount of ozone forming pollutants that we generate.  Instead of getting into our cars or trucks, we can take mass transit or ride our bikes.”

As part of the Little Steps Big Impact campaign, Metro is offering 50-cent bus fares and 25-cent transfers on weekdays in July.