The Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality action day today for the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas due to conditions being favorable for the production of ground-level ozone, or smog. DEQ spokesperson Greg Langley says a lack of wind to disperse certain elements contributes to the process.

“Ozone occurs when the volatile organic compounds in nitric oxide combine in the presence of sunlight and there is a photosynthetic reaction,” said Langley.

Higher levels of ozone can be a challenge to those with respiratory issues such as young children and asthma sufferers. Langley says the primary source of the two compounds is automobile exhaust, so residents are asked to help combat the production.

“We ask them to drive less, to not fill up their car early in the morning or midday, don’t do lawn work until after 6 pm,” said Langley.

Langley advises people not to sit in idling cars at drive-up windows.

The action day comes as a result of yesterday’s forecast and says some of last night’s pyro may have also contributed.

“There was some pollutants released by fireworks yesterday and that lingered a little bit into today,” said Langley.

Another action day may be called for Saturday depending on the air quality forecast issued this afternoon.