Do Your Share to Care for the Air

Air is essential for life, and yet, the quality of this vital natural resource is constantly threatened by numerous sources of pollution. The quality of air in the United States has significantly improved since regulations such as the Clean Air Act were imposed to protect our health and our environment. However, millions of people in the United States still live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Do your share to care for the air and to improve the quality of your life!

Clouds

– Know your air quality forecast and heed the voluntary recommendations on Ozone Action Days. Local municipalities, cities or states can declare an Ozone Action Day when weather conditions and pollution levels can lead to health concerns. Air quality forecasts are available at http://www.airnow.gov.

– Reduce your consumption of energy. Power generation is energy intensive, and power plants that produce energy often emit pollutants such as arsenic, mercury, heavy metals and acidic gases into the environment. These pollutants can degrade air quality and present associated health concerns such as allergies and respiratory issues.

– Recycle. The production of goods from recycled materials requires less energy and emits fewer pollutants than the production of goods from new materials. Last year, nearly 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions were avoided by recycling – the equivalent of removing 33 million cars from the road.

– Drive less by carpooling with your colleagues, chaining your trips, walking to your destination, cycling to your destination or using mass transit if possible.

– Fill your gasoline tank during evening hours to reduce vapor evaporation. Gasoline vapors contain air pollutants such as benzene.

– Do not top off your gasoline tank. If you do, you can release gasoline vapors into the air. Also, many gasoline stations have vapor recovery systems that prevent vapor evaporation. Any gasoline pumped following the engagement of the fuel capacity sensor will be drawn into the vapor recovery system and returned to the station’s storage tanks. So, by topping off your tank, you are essentially wasting fiscal resources and harming natural resources.

– Practice regular vehicle maintenance to ensure that your emissions system is functioning properly and to sustain optimal fuel efficiency.

– Avoid the use of gasoline powered equipment on Ozone Action Days.

– Do not burn trash! The burning of trash – both open burn methods and burn barrel methods – is prohibited in North Carolina. Place garbage in an appropriate container. The burning of vegetation is also prohibited in areas where municipal vegetation collection is available. Burning for occasions such as barbecues is allowed under certain circumstances but should be conducted only in accordance with North Carolina Fire Codes and Fort Bragg regulations. If you live on Fort Bragg, contact Corvias Military Living for policies pertaining to post residents. All burning should be avoided on Ozone Action Days. Visit http://daq.state.nc.us/ for information.

– Use environmentally preferred, biobased and biodegradable products that contain no or minimal volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs such as formaldehyde, toluene and perchloroethylene can contribute to degraded air quality and cause associated health concerns.

– Use propane instead of charcoal for grilling. According to the Department of Energy, a propane grill produces 5.6 pounds of carbon emissions during each hour of use whereas a charcoal grill produces 11 pounds of carbon emissions during each hour of use when production, transportation and burning are all considered.

SOURCES OF AIR QUALITY INFORMATION AND AIR QUALITY FORECASTS

AIRNow

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Air Quality

Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Planning and Standards

American Lung Association State of the Air

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