Long Beach students star in new clean air video campaign

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - You will soon see a new campaign, urging everyone in South Mississippi to help clean up the air.  On Thursday, several agencies unveiled a public service announcement that warns people about the ozone dangers and how pollution can affect people with asthma and other respiratory problems.

Several Long Beach students played a big role in the video.

"I'm really nervous, because I'm not used to being seen on TV and stuff," said fifth grader T.Q. Newsome.

The anxiety was building for T.Q. and six other Long Beach students. They are the stars of a new psa that rallies young people to help make our air cleaner and safer.

"It was little scary, because you're like: Aw man, don't pick that shot of me. That's not pretty. It was really fun," said Long Beach High Junior Hannah Haulsee.

More that 250 students and teachers at Harper-McCaughan Elementary School were among the first to see the video Thursday. City leaders and representatives from MDOT, MDEQ, and the American Lung Association also watched it for the first time.

"It's scary to think that the air we're breathing may not be good for us. And for people with asthma or children and our elderly, the air can be very threatening," said Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie. "Our job is to keep the air clean in Mississippi and guess what?  We cannot do it by ourselves."

The Gulf Regional Planning Commission spearheaded the campaign, after learning that the ozone level in south Mississippi is within safe federal standards; however, it's borderline.

"We became aware that our pollution levels have been increasing and we're concerned about the quality of our air," said Elaine Wilkinson, GRPC Director. "So we want to be proactive. We want to do something to protect our air and make sure our air stays healthy and clean for people to be able to breathe."

The video also features Captain Clean Air. He flies around in a propane-powered plane, sharing lessons about air pollution. It was actually the students who came up with the concept.

The campaign shows that everyone can play a role in protecting our air quality.

"I think it's good that we can inform the community so they know ozone can be harmful sometimes, and they know what not to do and what to do to make it less harmful," said eighth grader Jamie Malley.

"What I really like about it is there's examples in there. Because I've always known that yeah, the ozone is bad, but what can I do about it?" said Haulsee.

There's also a radio version of the PSA. The spots will air mainly on Ozone Action Days.  Those are days that are predicted to have unhealthy levels of ozone.

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