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What You Can Do

The good news is that there is plenty we can do to help improve our air quality year round.

Summertime Tips
During the summer when ozone is the main problem, leaving your car at home is the most effective way to help prevent unhealthy ozone levels. Instead, try these other ways to get around:

  • Transit: take the bus, train, subway or trolley to work.
  • Ridesharing: join a carpool or vanpool.
  • Bicycling or walking: walk or bike to your destination. It's cheap and good for you!
  • Telecommuting: work from home and spend your extra commute hours with your family.

If you have to use your car, especially on high ozone days make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • "Trip-link" by doing all errands at one time, avoiding unnecessary cold starts. An engine that's been sitting for an hour or more pollutes five times as much as a warm one.
  • Refuel at the end of the day. Ozone levels are usually at their highest in the mid- to late afternoon, and pumping gas emits roughly five tons a day of pollution into the air. So, save your pumping until evening.
  • Don't "top off" your fuel tank. This is never a good idea, no matter what time of day. Spillage adds about two tons of pollution a day to our air.
  • Turn off your engine when you stop your car for a minute or more.

In addition to changing your travel habits, here are some other ways to help reduce unhealthy levels of ozone pollution:

  • Postpone mowing the lawn until late in the day or use a manual or electric mower instead. (And remember to refuel mowers and other gasoline-powered tools after dusk too).
  • Start your barbecue with an electric probe or use a gas grill. Charcoal lighter fluid vaporizes quickly and adds to air pollution.
  • Refrain from using household sprays and oil-based paints, or wait until early evening. These items contain gases which contribute to ozone pollution.

Wintertime Tips
Many summertime tips to prevent air pollution can also be done in the winter. In addition, you can also:

  • Use wood stoves and fire places wisely and sparingly. A well maintained stove or fireplace is safer and produces less particle pollution.
  • Refrain from burning trash or yard waste. Burning your garbage outdoors can release toxic particles into the air harming the health of your family and neighbors.
  • Conserve energy at home by setting your thermostat lower. If we use less energy, power plants will not need to burn as much coal or oil. Weather stripping, fluorescent lights and programmable thermostats help to conserve energy and save you money.
  • Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks.
 

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Brochures
What You Can Do at Home, in Your Car, and at Work Brochure (PDF)

Free Real-Time Air Pollution Alerts Postcard
(PDF)