OBOT (Open Burning Outreach Team)
We need your help to keep our air clean and healthy for everyone in our state. Several years ago, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Division of Air Quality (DAQ), initiated an outreach team to communicate to the public the dangers of open burning, or burning trash in an open fire or burn barrel. The Open Burning Outreach Team (OBOT) in addition to working with multiple agencies, fire departments, and local groups, tries to spread a simple message; burning man made trash is dangerous, produces unhealthy air pollution, and is illegal. These materials include everything from household wastes to old tires, plastics, and construction debris. Trying to stop illegal burning takes an enormous amount of staff time and resources. The number of these open burning violations and subsequent enforcement actions made up over 51% of all the DAQ’s enforcement cases. The penalties ranged from just a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars each. OBOT is comprised of employees from the DAQ’s seven regional air quality offices across the state who work to reduce air pollution and keep North Carolinians healthy. Illegal open burning is a serious issues in North Carolina.
The goal of the team was, and still is, to try and inform the general public on the health dangers of illegal open burning. To date, outreach efforts have been made to individual groups and associations which incorporate our messages into their newsletters and other printed materials. We continue to keep the North Carolina Forest Service, North Carolina Department of Transportation, and all North Carolina fire departments on a three year rotating cycle of education and outreach.
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