Athenica Advocate
June 2018


Air Quality Alert and What It Means

We have all heard the term “ozone alert” today. But what does it mean? Why should we care? Ozone, O3; is a colorless gas that naturally exists in the earth’s upper atmosphere and protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. However, when ozone is found near the earth’s surface it’s called ground-level ozone and it’s a harmful air pollutant.O3; is an odorless and colorless gas that is an excellent antiseptic, disinfectant but is also irritating and toxic to the pulmonary system. It is artificially produced when automobile exhaust fumes combine with nitrogen oxide in the presence of sunlight and high temperatures which leads to ozone pollution. Ozone alert is a warning issued by health and environmental officials during periods of excessive ozone pollution for those individuals most sensitive to ozone, such as the very young, the elderly, and ill individuals, especially those with respiratory conditions. Advice is to remain indoors and limit physical activity. Healthy individuals are also advised to limit outdoor activity. Ozone can cause lung problems and eye irritation. During an alert it is best to avoid outside activity, especially if you are in the high risk group. Ozone can cause lung problems and eye irritation. During an alert it is best to avoid outside activity, especially if you are in the high risk group. Follow this link to find local air quality conditions anywhere in the U.S.: https://www.airnow.gov


Aspirational Recycling Issues

Recycling technology has developed a lot over the last decade, which in a way has made the logistics of what you can and cannot toss in the recycling bin a lot more complicated. Did you know that the pizza box that you had on Friday night was not recyclable? Thousands of people who recycle are unaware that they may be doing more harm than good. The most common recycling mistake found in recycling carts is plastic grocery bags. It is more convenient to leave plastic bottles or any other items loose in a bin. I’m sure we've all heard the saying "reduce, reuse, recycle", but it is important that we recycle the right way. For example, it is important to consider that we rinse plastic and metal to remove all remaining residue to facilitate recycling. Now more than ever, it is important we try to keep a sustainable environment with China’s new rule restricting the import of recycled plastics and recycled paper. Historically, China has accepted 4 to 5 percent impurities of recycled materials but will now only accept less than 1 percent of those impurities. Many waste managers have found it difficult to find a substitute. As a consequence, many of these items have no place to go and with time will continue to overload. For more information, please click here.


Athenica News: Internship Program 2018

Athenica is pleased to welcome this year’s summer interns: Matthew Lowe and Christos Bagtzoglou. Matthew Lowe, originally from Long Island, is a rising senior studying Environmental Engineering at the Ohio State University. Christos Bagtzoglou is a rising junior studying environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut. They will both be exposed to soil and groundwater sampling, data formatting, Phase I report writing, and remediation oversight including performance of community air monitoring during the eight week internship program. Athenica runs a paid internship program for undergraduates majoring in environmental science or environmental engineering every summer. The summer internship program is an opportunity for junior or senior level students to work on real projects and gain hands-on experience in both field-work and office-work. In addition to the field training, students attend an OSHA 40-hour HAZWOPER class.