Ozone Action Program

As part of a larger, existing effort to promote cleaner air in the Detroit region, the goal of the Ozone Action Program was to attain and maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standard by having no days on record with higher than recommended ground level ozone. To achieve this goal, the program was designed to have two components: (1) Ozone Action Days and (2) outreach elements encouraging action throughout the ozone season. Near the beginning of the ozone season, a reminder that the Ozone Action season was starting was sent to the media, employers, and other participants and all were offered branded items like magnets, sunglasses, and sunscreen to help remind them of the program throughout the season. Ozone Action Days served as a type of alert system, informing the general public every time ozone levels were expected to exceed federal standards the following day. Any time meteorologists predicted elevated ozone levels a coordinator was notified and charged with sending out press releases to all media and employers in the area. The message consisted of a reminder to take action by partaking in at least one of several suggested behaviors. These reminders were then broadcasted/displayed on digitized highway signs, television news segments, and radio stations. To encourage participation in desired behaviors throughout the ozone season (and not just on Ozone Action Days) program developers created a number of educational materials designed to meet the needs of various target audiences. A list of 25 activities that would help improve air quality was made available to the general public and paired with access to free transit passes encouraging participation in the program. Educators were provided with a free resource kit and access to the Ozone Action website, both of which provided teachers with age-appropriate lesson plans and experiments to implement with their students. Businesses, organizations, and governments were invited to register for a free fax broadcast notification system and asked to make a commitment to participate in the Ozone Action program. Those groups that opted into the program were given public recognition for their participation through the local media. Program messaging designed to motivate people to participate highlighted the negative impacts ground-level ozone had on health and that program participation could prevent these ill-effects. Public awareness of the campaign was considered to be the greatest indicator of success, and as such, a public awareness study utilizing random telephone polls was commissioned. By 1998, four years after the program began, 88% of Detroit households reported that they had heard of the program.

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