26 Ways to Healthy Air

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26 Ways to Healthy Air

On The Road, At Home, and In The Community

You might not see it or smell it, but we do have air pollution in Pima County. Breathing dirty air takes its toll on our health: coughing, wheezing, chest pain, reduced lung capacity, reduced alertness, and respiratory pain are some of the many possible health effects caused by air pollution. Unhealthy air can also affect plants, animals and even buildings.

Your everyday decisions do make a difference in air quality. This brochure provides 26 ways you can help make air in Pima County healthier, as well as yourself and the environment. Please do your part for healthy air.

 

ON THE ROAD


1


RIDESHARE
You can cut down on the pollution coming from motor vehicles by sharing a ride. Carpooling also strikes at other woes - traffic congestion, vehicle expenses, and fuel consumption. Call 884-RIDE for information.

2

LEAVE THE DRIVING TO THEM
Use public transportation. Riding the bus reduces car repairs, commuting costs, and air pollution, along with stress. For Sun Tran bus schedules call 792-9222.

3

RIDE A BICYCLE OR WALK
Cycling and walking are great for short trips. Human power produces no air pollution and the exercise is good for you.

4

COMBINE ERRANDS INTO ONE TRIP
Instead of hopping in the car whenever you need something, plan your errands. Cluster as many as possible. And, when you're out doing those errands, walk into, don't drive through, banks, cleaners, and fast food restaurants. Vehicle idling produces large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and other pollutants.

5

MAKE SURE YOUR CAR'S AIR CONDITIONER IS WORKING PROPERLY
Leaky air conditioners in cars are the single greatest source of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's), a greenhouse gas. Check your auto air conditioner to make sure it's leak proof. And, if it needs to be recharged, have its CFC's recycled. Be sure your mechanic has a system for recycling freon.

6

PREVENT GAS SPILLAGE - NEVER TOP OFF YOUR TANK
Topping off fills the air with contaminants. Remember, gasoline fumes are another source air pollution. They contains solvents that help form ozone and other pollutants, such as benzene, that can cause cancer.

7

KEEP YOUR CAR ENGINE WELL TUNED AND TIRES PROPERLY INFLATED
Dirty carburetors, clogged air filters, worn points and plugs not only waste gas and lower engine performance, they cause increased emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx), two air pollutants. Drive on radial tires that are properly inflated. This will cut down on fuel costs and produce less particulate matter (PM).

8

DRIVE A NEWER VEHICLE THAT POLLUTES LESS
If you're in the market to buy a vehicle, consider buying a newer one with state of the art pollution controls.

9

STAY ON PAVED ROADS
Driving on dirt roads raises dust which contributes to haze and airborne particulate matter. If you must drive on dirt roads, drive slowly to reduce dust, especially in dusty areas, and near houses or buildings.

10

COOPERATE WITH THE STATE'S VEHICLE EMISSIONS PROGRAM
By obtaining an emissions check on your car and making any necessary repairs, you'll be helping a statewide program to reduce emissions. Remember that removing a catalytic converter or other pollution control equipment is illegal.

11

FIX LEAKING VEHICLES
Automotive fluids that leak onto the ground release fumes into the air and also pollute stormwater that eventually flows into our washes. Fix leaks quickly to save money on fluid replacement and prevent pollution.

  IN THE COMMUNITY

12


RECYCLE
Manufacturing with recycled materials give the air a break because less pollution is produced than if using raw materials. What's recyclable? Newspapers and paper products, aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles and some plastic containers. Find out which recycling outreach location is closest to your home and use it. Call 791-5000 for recycling outreach locations. Automotive fluids and other wastes can harm water supplies and release polluting vapors. Recycle them at Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Call 888-6947 for more information.

13

ASK YOUR EMPLOYER TO CONSIDER ALTERNATE WORK SCHEDULES
Compressed work weeks, flextime and telecommuting via computer all reduce traffic congestion and its accompanying emissions. Employers like the productivity, employees the flexibility.

14

REPORT INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION, CALL 724-7400
PDEQ's trained inspectors regularly check stationary sources of air pollution. If you suspect a business or industry is violating air quality rules, call us and we'll investigate.

15

WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS
Elected officials on the state, federal, city, and county levels need to know you support clean air programs and legislation. You also have a voice in issues affecting your air at the PDEQ's regular public hearings.

16

EDUCATE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY ABOUT AIR POLLUTION
We make it easy to learn about air quality in the Tucson area. We've developed school curricula on air quality. Ask your school to request it and teach it in their classrooms. We also provide free speakers, classroom presentations, publications, public hearing notices and rule updates. Phone 724-7400 for information.

  AT HOME  

17


PAINT WITH WATER-BASED PAINTS

Drying paint releases many pollution-forming compounds. Oil-based paints contain three to five times more solvents than water-based, latex paints. Close lids tightly. An open gallon of paint can emit up to three-and-a-half pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) that contribute to smog.

18

PAINT WITH BRUSHES OR ROLLERS
Spray paints from cans are double trouble. The gas that propels the spray, and any paint that dries before impact or misses its target, creates air pollution. Try to use only what you need. If you have left over paint, take it to the Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste Facility (888-6947) for recycling.

19

BUY PRODUCTS IN THEIR NON-AEROSOL FORM
The propellants used in aerosol cans of hair spray, deodorants and household products contribute to pollution. Alternative, non-aerosol products are readily available - and safe.

20

SELECT PRODUCTS WITH LESS PACKAGING
Minimizing the amount of paper and plastic you have to toss away clears the air. Packaging consumes energy when it's made, generates harmful VOC's when it's printed and produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and CO when it's burned. CO2 is one of the "greenhouse gases," which trap infrared radiation in the atmosphere and prevents its passage to space, resulting in a warming of global temperatures. And if that weren't enough, those pretty packages represent half of the nation's costs of waste disposal.

21

PLANT TREES AND LOW-MAINTENANCE LANDSCAPING
Trees add oxygen to the atmosphere, break down some pollutants and reduce dust. A total of 300 trees can counterbalance the amount of air pollution one person produces in a lifetime. Water-conserving native plants save three valuable resources - water, energy and the air - because they require less care. If you push that lawnmower by hand or use an electric powered model, you'll cut down on more toxic fumes. Try an old-fashioned rake instead of a leaf blower, it's good for you and the environment.

22

FIRE UP IN A DIFFERENT WAY
The typical lighter fluid used to start those backyard barbecues adds pollutants to our skies every day. Experiment with alternate ways of igniting charcoal. Try a chimney that uses newspaper tinder, or an electric probe. Use your fireplace sparingly. If possible, convert to a natural gas fireplace to reduce particulate matter emissions. Be aware that you cannot burn trash in Pima County.

23

CONSERVE ENERGY
A year's worth of electricity in the average home sends 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air, adding to global warming and day-to-day pollution. Turn electric appliances off during peak times between noon and 5pm. Set the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees. This will conserve energy and save you roughly $25 a year.

24

INSULATE YOUR HOME
The less energy used for heating and cooling, the less pollution from electric power plants burning coal, oil and natural gas. If you can't add roof or wall insulation, you can still caulk and weather strip doors and windows, and close off unused rooms.

25

GO SOLAR FOR HOME AND WATER HEATING
Water and space heating account for more than 50% of household energy use. Installing solar energy sources reduces the need to burn fossil fuels. Even without solar, you can cut energy consumption. Turn off the thermostat at night. Use cold water instead of hot whenever possible.

26

KNOW HOW AIR POLLUTION EFFECTS YOU
Watch for pollution forecasting on television, check www.AirInfoNow.org, or call 882-4AIR. If you have respiratory problems, you may want to reduce physical activities and/or stay indoors when high pollution is forecasted. If high pollution levels are predicted, try to carpool or ride the bus and postpone avoidable pollution producing activities.

" "

For more information...

Pima County Department of Environmental Quality
Information 724-7400
Household Hazardous Waste 888-6947
Wildcat Dump Hotline 622-5800
Air Info Now 882-4AIR
Pima Association of Governments
RideShare 884-RIDE
Bicycling 628-5313
Sun Tran
Bus Information and Trip Planning 792-9222
Tucson Clean & Beautiful
ReTHINK It Recycling Information 791-5000
Trees for Tucson 791-3109

Pima County Department of Environmental Quality
Clean Air Program
Funded by a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

Portions of this text were reprinted with permission of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, El Monte, California

 

 

 


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