NC Air Awareness

The NC Air Awareness is a public outreach and education program of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality (NCDAQ). 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.  NCDAQ works closely with local air agencies, councils of government, non-profits, 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 infomation and much more. Through both local coordinators and state representatives, our program regularly exhibits at health, environmental, and festivals. Toll-free air quality hotline 1-888-RU4NCAIR. Information may also be obtained by emailing

Click here to see the Air Quality Forecast (code)!
Click here learn more about the Air Quality Index  (Espanol)

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 two common air pollutants: 1) Ground-level and 2) 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 NCDAQ 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 (FCEAD) and the Mecklenburg County Air Quality agency, respectively. In Asheville and the Triangle, local programs are housed at the NCDAQ Asheville Regional Office and the NCDAQ Central Office. Find an air quality expert in your area by looking the contact information below.

K-12 Education: NC Air Awareness offers many free K-12 lessons and air quality education programs.  Educator workshops are held 2-4 times a year focusing on K-5, 6-8, or high school students. Workshop participants can earn credit toward Environmental Educator certification (through DENR OEE) as well as continuing education credits. Program staff also give classroom presentations at area schools. To learn more click on "Teachers and Students."

Partnerships:  NC 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 NCDAQ'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 count over 500 businesses and organizations statewide.


Take Action! Find a local air awareness coordinator or air quality expert in your region today. Get connected to learn about air pollution, start a community project or connect your organization with NC Air Awareness. Learn more about K-12 education materials, speakers and partnership opportunities.

Western NC Air Awareness
Keith Bamberger

Triad Air Awareness
Lorelei Elkins

Charlotte Area Air Awareness
Tara Onufrak

Triangle Air Awareness

Fayetteville Air Awareness
Jennifer McHone

Unifour Area Air Awareness