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Catawba continues its participation in EPA’s Air Quality Flag program

Catawba College

SALISBURY — If you’re driving along West Innes Street past Hedrick Administration Building at Catawba College, you’ll notice four flags being flown in front of the building — the U.S. flag, the N.C. flag, the Catawba College flag and one of five various colored Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality flags.

As the weather heats up and the pollen and pollutants increase in the area, people on Catawba’s campus and passers-by can determine the Air Quality Index for the day simply by noting the color of the flag displayed beneath the college flag.

The flag color corresponds to the expected level of air pollution for the day. By comparing the colored flags to the air quality index, anyone who sees the flags will know what actions to take to protect their health.

Green signals good air quality, yellow is moderate, orange means unhealthy for sensitive groups — like children and people with asthma — and red signals unhealthy air for everyone. A purple flag means the air quality is very unhealthy and sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor exertion while everyone else should limit outdoor exertion.

Last fall, Catawba College became North Carolina’s first college to participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Flag Program. The college continues on a daily basis to raise one of five EPA flags to help members of the campus community and the Salisbury-Rowan community at large be aware of each day’s air quality conditions.

Catawba’s Public Safety Office has taken the lead on implementing the air quality program by both monitoring daily air quality alerts and then raising the appropriate flag.

Local air quality can affect daily lives, and it can change from day to day, season to season. The Air Quality Index provides information about the health effects of common air pollutants.

The EPA also provides up-to-date air quality information at www.enviroflash.info for email forecasts or on the AirNow app for information by cellphone.

For more information on the Air Quality Flag Program, visit EPA AirNow at www.airnow.gov/flag.

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