What You Can Do
The good news is that there is plenty we can do to help improve
our air quality year round.
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
- 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
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.
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
- 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.
If your a business or organization,
sign up to become an Air Quality Partner:
You Can Do at Home, in Your Car, and at Work Brochure
Real-Time Air Pollution Alerts Postcard