Bay Area residents urged to protect air quality as Spare the Air smog season begins Monday

- As it gets warmer outside, Bay Area Air quality officials are urging commuters to limit driving and find other ways of traveling to protect the region's air quality.

On Monday, the 2018 Spare the Air smog season begins in the San Francisco Bay Area, officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said.

According to district officials, cars are the largest source of smog pollution in the region so they're asking commuters to look for ways to share, shorten or change their commutes to cut smog, traffic and gridlock.

Air district Executive Officer Jack Broadbent encourages residents to share rides, install a cool roof, cut energy consumption, recycle, compost and reduce waste to help limit smog-forming chemicals from building up in the area.

In the summertime, air district officials issue Spare the Air alerts when smog, also known as ozone pollution, is expected to hit unhealthy levels.

Smog can irritate throats and cause congestion and chest pain. Smog can also trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema.

Air district officials said ozone pollution is especially harmful to young children, seniors and people with respiratory and heart illnesses.

During a Spare the Air alert, residents are encouraged exercise outdoors in the early morning hours when smog levels are lower.

For more information, residents can visit www.sparetheair.org.

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