Protecting the Air We Breathe
According to the American Lung Association, May is Clean Air Month! This means it’s time to protect the air we breathe by reducing pollutants in our atmosphere. The ozone in the upper atmosphere plays an important part in absorbing the harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. Without this protection our skin, immune system and eyes could be damaged by the UV rays. Even though the ozone is essential for our everyday life, it is being stripped away by pollutants in the air creating ground level ozone. Ground level ozone is formed by a reaction between pollutants in the air or any volatile organic compound (VOC) with sunlight. This type of ozone affects the air we breathe, even possible triggering any health problem such as coughing, chest pain and throat irritation. It can also worsen any type of respiratory illness like asthma and bronchitis. One of the ways to prevent ground level ozone from forming is to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air; vehicle emissions being one of the most common.
Air Quality Awareness Week is also held in May. Air Quality Awareness Week will be celebrated May 1-5, 2023. The theme for this year is “Working Together for Clean Air.” Please visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website for more information.
Here are some things you could incorporate in your everyday routine to help reduce emission in our atmosphere:
Plan your commute around traffic. Driving anywhere can be a tedious task especially around traffic. Next time you are on the road, try to plan your commutes to avoid heavy congestion on the road. A great habit is to check traffic conditions before you hit the road and figure out the best route possible.
Drive less. Consider reducing the number of trips you take, not only will it reduce the amount of emissions from your vehicle, but it will also save headaches and time! Other options to driving include walking or biking to work and school, carpooling and trying public transit. Check out the Try Parking It rewards program. It is a way for users to try an alternative commute to driving alone, reduce the number of drives, and earn rewards.
Get your car routinely checked. Got tail-pipe smoke but didn’t intend for it to happen? Make sure to have your vehicle checked by a mechanic to ensure that there aren’t any skips in the machine. Planning on purchasing a new car? Consider looking into more fuel efficient or hybrid/electric vehicles. The IRS offers a tax credit up to $7,500 for the purchase of a qualified plug in electric car. To learn more about this wonderful opportunity, look here.
Along with reducing harmful emissions in the air, you get to save money as well!
Refuel during cooler temperatures – evenings or early morning. Did you know that gas fumes heat up in hotter temperatures? In order to prevent that, the best times to refuel your vehicle is either in the evening or early morning; any time that has a cooler temperature. A plus to this is that you won’t have to wait to get gas during busy hours.
Reduce idling. What is idling? It’s when your vehicle engine is running when it’s not moving. There is a myth going around that restarting your car uses more fuel and that it will slowly wear out your engine. However, for every hour of idling, it wastes about 30% of a gallon of fuel. Idling doesn’t help conserve gas or your vehicle, so try to turn off your engine to save money and the air!
Shop consciously. VOC is found in many household cleaning supplies, so be wary of what kind of products that you are bringing into your home. Here is a website that you can look through to find the best products that are eco-friendly.
Taking care of the air and the environment is one of the most important things we can do, especially since it plays such a big part to our health!