N.C. Air Awareness

N.C. Air Awareness is a public outreach and education program of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality (DAQ). The goal of the program is to reduce air pollution though voluntary actions by individuals and organizations. The program seeks to educate individuals about the sources of air pollution and explain how the health effects of air pollution can be minimized by modification of outdoor activities on ozone action days. In addition, the program aims to inform the public of ways to minimize production of air pollutants to improve air quality over time.  

DAQ works closely with local air agencies, councils of government, nonprofits and various stakeholders to accomplish program goals. The program utilizes a wide range of web and media outlets to broadcast our message to the general public. These include statewide radio messages covering open burning, idle reduction, clean air tips, air quality action day information and much more. Through both local coordinators and state representatives, our program regularly exhibits at health and environmental gatherings.

For additional information, please call 919-707-8400 or send email to air.awareness@ncdenr.gov.

NEW  -  Distance Learning Resources

The Department of Environmental Quality is dedicated to increasing environmental literacy in the state.  DEQ’s environmental educators are here to support your distance learning needs during this challenging time.  Teachers can access free online resources specifically designed for distance learning focused on several topics including geology, sedimentation, air quality, and water quality.    Learn more at https://deq.nc.gov/outreach-education/distance-learning.  You can also click "Teachers and Students" to see other air quality education content.

NEW - N.C. DAQ now offers air quality forecsast for all counties in North Carolina!  

Check the Air Quality Forecast (code) at the Air Quality Portal

Learn more about the Air Quality Index  (Espanol)

Air quality color guide, chart of air quality index and meanings

Take Action! Contact us to find a local air awareness coordinator or air quality expert in your region today. Learn about air pollution, start a community project or connect your organization with N.C. Air Awareness. Learn more about K-12 education materials, speakers and partnership opportunities. NC Air Awareness items are available for FREE to NC residents. For more information,  email: air.awareness@ncdenr.gov or call 919-707-8400 (ask for a N.C. Air Awareness team member). 

Key program components: 

The air quality forecast:  The most visible element of the program is the air quality forecast, seen by a large segment of the public on local TV news weather segments. These forecasts are distributed to local media (television, radio, and newspaper) and to area businesses and individuals. The daily air quality forecast covers ground-level ozone and particle pollution. Ground-level ozone forms when pollutants from cars, power plants and other sources combine in hot sunlight. Ozone is a lung irritant that causes shortness of breath, irritates throats and eyes, and aggravates asthma. Particle pollution can be high at any time of day or night, and any time of year. High particle levels often are caused by forest fires or residential wood burning, especially when weather conditions causes pollution to stay close to the ground.   

Community-based local programs: Although many program activities are centrally coordinated from the DAQ Raleigh Central Office, locally based area coordinators direct activity in many parts of our state. In the Triad and Charlotte areas, the local Air Awareness Programs are housed in the Forsyth County Environmental Affairs Department and the Mecklenburg County Air Quality agency, respectively. In Asheville and the Triangle, local programs are housed at the DAQ Asheville Regional Office and the DAQ Central Office. Find an air quality expert in your area by looking the contact information below.

K-12 Education: N.C. Air Awareness offers many free K-12 lessons and air quality education programs.  Educator workshops are held two to four times a year focusing on K-5, 6-8, or high school students. Workshop participants can earn credit toward Environmental Educator certification (through DEQ OEE) as well as continuing education credits. Program staff also give classroom presentations at area schools.

Partnerships:  N.C. Air Awareness partners with many organizations to reach a wider audience with important air quality messages. Some areas in North Carolina have regional business coalitions. Coalition members, area business, agencies and organizations multiply DAQ's education efforts by distributing the ozone forecast to employees and providing education about air quality. Regional Coalitions in Asheville, Hickory, the Triad, Charlotte, and the Triangle include more than 500 businesses and organizations statewide.