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Cough-Cough: Smog repairs can help clean Central Valley air

There will be a smog repair and emission testing event, Tune In and Tune Up, at the Merced County Fair Grounds on Saturday. Motorist Deja Hassen, 29, of Merced, left, speaks with Curt Ellis, 55, of Modesto, right, after testing her vehicles emissions during the Valley Clean Air Now or Valley CAN, Tune in and Tune Up event held at the Merced County Fairgrounds in Merced, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. The event, sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, aims to reduce vehicle pollutants by offering free smog testing. According to Valley CAN, if a vehicle is deemed a high polluter, Valley CAN will issue a $500 voucher for emission related repairs at local certified smog shops.
There will be a smog repair and emission testing event, Tune In and Tune Up, at the Merced County Fair Grounds on Saturday. Motorist Deja Hassen, 29, of Merced, left, speaks with Curt Ellis, 55, of Modesto, right, after testing her vehicles emissions during the Valley Clean Air Now or Valley CAN, Tune in and Tune Up event held at the Merced County Fairgrounds in Merced, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. The event, sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, aims to reduce vehicle pollutants by offering free smog testing. According to Valley CAN, if a vehicle is deemed a high polluter, Valley CAN will issue a $500 voucher for emission related repairs at local certified smog shops. akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

One way San Joaquin Valley resident can help improve air quality is to make sure their vehicle’s emissions meet state standards.

Merced County residents have a chance Saturday to have their car emissions tested for free during a Tune In and Tune Up event organized by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and Valley Clean Air Now, or Valley CAN.

“Mobile sources of air pollution now make up about 85 percent of the Valley’s air pollution issues,” Anthony Presto, outreach and communications representative for the Valley Air District, said in an email to the Merced Sun-Star. “Cars are a big part of the mobile source equation.”

The first 525 cars that fail the emission test will receive a $500 voucher for repairs at a participating smog shop. Any vehicle that fails the emissions test is emitting more pollution than allowed, Presto said.

Owners of older vehicles that, perhaps, are not worth the investment in repairs needed to bring them up to standards will receive assistance to find cleaner replacement vehicles, Presto said.

Vehicles create and release smog in the air which mixes with compounds that are baked in the sun, creating ground-level ozone, a gas that damages lung tissue, he said.

“So, warmer, stagnant weather means more ozone pollution, and more exacerbations of asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema,” Presto said. “Reducing vehicle emissions by making sure that cars run as clean as possible is critical to reducing ozone pollution.”

During spring, ozone pollution is generally better, Presto said. But once summer begins, the Valley sees high temperatures, above 90 degrees, that will make ozone pollution levels rise, he said.

Tune In and Tune Up will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the Merced County Fairgrounds in the 11th Street parking lot. Food and beverages will be available. For more information call 1-800-806-2004 or go to www.valleycan.org.

Residents can track air quality through the website of the Valley Air District’s Real-Time Air Advisory, or RAAN, at www.valleyair.org/Programs/RAAN/raan_landing.htm.

Monica Velez: 209-385-2486

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