The week of May 2nd – 6th is National Air Quality Awareness Week and the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA) would like to remind residents that the simple choices we make each day affect our air quality. Whether it’s driving the car, mowing the lawn, or even turning the lights on, we all contribute a little bit to air pollution.
While many of us may not feel the effects of air pollution, it poses a health risk to sensitive populations such as the elderly, young children and people with respiratory diseases, like asthma.
Please take some time to think about how you contribute to air pollution and what you can do to make a positive difference. Here are a few ways to help reduce air pollution in your community especially, on days when the air quality is expected to be unhealthy:
- Limit engine idling
- Keep your engines tuned-up, both vehicles and lawn equipment
- Consider using electric or battery powered lawn equipment
- Compost your landscape waste instead of burning it
- Car pool
- Fill up your vehicle in the evening, preferably after 8 pm
- When heating with wood, only use clean, dried, seasoned wood
- Conserve electricity and water
RAPCA measures air pollution with an extensive network of air pollution monitors and communicates air quality to the public using the Air Quality Index or AQI. The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality and focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. The current AQI can be found on RAPCA’s website.
If you’re interested in receiving Air Quality Notifications, visit www.airnow.gov and sign up for Enviroflash. Enviroflash is a free, customizable e-mail and text service that sends AQI forecasts and Air Pollution Advisories (APAs) to your smart phone or email. RAPCA issues APAs anytime air pollution levels are expected to be high.