Beginning on May 1 and ending Sept. 30, Georgia Environmental Protection Division Open Burning Ban will be enforced in 54 Georgia counties.
The ban prohibits residents and businesses from burning yard and land-clearing debris. The rule is in addition to the year-round state ban on the burning of household garbage.
The EPD is reminding residents that these rules are in place for a reason — and the reason is health.
Besides the obvious effects of smoke on the human body, such as watery eyes, smoke from fires contains chemicals and pollutants that negatively impact a person’s health.
Burning yard waste releases nitrogen oxides and particle pollution into the air. Both pollutants contribute to lung and heart disease.
Particle pollution is made up of extremely small particles that can increase the risk of a heart attack.
In the heat of summer, nitrogen oxides combine with fumes from fuels, paints and vegetation to form ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone can cause inflammation to the lungs.
Burning household garbage, which is banned year-round in Georgia, releases even more dangerous pollution.
The Open Burning Ban that began May 1 is not new.
Beginning in 1996 with the 13-county metro Atlanta area, it has gradually come to include 54 counties.
With Georgia’s growth and development comes more traffic, more industry, more land clearing and more building — all contribute to air pollution.
Some actions, such as campfires and agricultural activities are exempt.
Residents can access more information on the Open Burning Ban by calling the EPD District Office at (770) 387-4900.
Small businesses can obtain help and information by calling EPD’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program toll-free at (877) 427-6255.