Program promotes air quality

Clusters of bubbles floated toward the ceiling.

A box of glazed doughnuts enticed passers-by.

Although the props denote light-hearted fun, Clark County officials used them Thursday to launch an air quality campaign with a message that's no laughing matter.

At the heart of the campaign is the notion that the air we breathe is as fragile as a bubble and not something you want to burst.

The new "Protect the Air We Share" program is two-pronged. The county will work harder to encourage people to generate less ozone and airborne dust, while offering residents a new online tool for checking air quality in the valley, said Brenda Manlove Williams, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management.

"We're serious about it because it's an important message," Manlove Williams said, standing next to tables filled with laptop computers, fliers and Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a hallway of the Clark County Government Center.

The doughnuts were to catch people's attention, she said.

Also, Krispy Kreme's local franchise is the program's first official sponsor.

Residents can sign up for EnviroFlash, an online program at the county's Web site that gives color-coded ratings of air quality, she said.

Ratings include good (green), moderate (yellow), unhealthy (orange) and hazardous (burgundy).

Each category has a brief description of how that level of pollution could affect the public.

"I think the significance is ... using weather models to predict what the air quality is going to be," said Lewis Wallenmeyer, director of the air-quality department.

One goal is to encourage news outlets to make the air-quality forecasts a routine part of their weather reports, he said.

Meanwhile, the county will promote the program with ads on billboards and the sides of buses, along with a catchy jingle to go with the "Protect the Air we Share" slogan, said Tina Gingras, the agency's assistant director.

"It's a whole new look for us," she said.

Knowing the intensity of airborne pollutants is vital for people with breathing problems, Manlove Williams said. For instance, the parent of a child suffering from asthma would want to know whether the child should play outdoor sports that day.

Many residents discount the impact that dirty air has on their health, she said.

"People think they might have allergies, and they could be affected by poor air quality," she said.

For more information, call 455-5942.

To check air quality, go to; then click on the air quality links.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at or 702-455-4519.