Clean Air Program

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Pump Up Your MPG

Regularly inspecting and properly inflating your vehicle tires has been proven to increase vehicle gas mileage. In fact, by keeping your tires properly inflated, you can likely save about $400 a year, with more benefits beyond that. Starting February and running through May 2014, use the MPG Contest Entry Form to record your gas mileage and tire pressure checks. Submit the form to PDEQ monthly, or at least once by May 31, 2014, for a chance to win a Free Set of Tires or Car Care Service from Jack Furrier Tire & Auto Care or one of four $100 gift cards. Any way you look at it, you win. Better mileage, safer driving, longer lasting tires, healthier air to breathe… Read More

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The Pima County Clean Air Program

Who We Are

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality's Clean Air Program was established in 1989 to provide public air quality information and education to help reduce air pollution in Pima County. In the past, Pima County experienced violations of national air quality standards. To prevent further deterioration, several initiatives were developed to reduce air quality emissions in Pima County. The Clean Air Program/Voluntary No-Drive-Day is one of those initiatives.

How We Are Funded

The Pima County Clean Air Program is funded by a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This money comes from a portion of the $1.50 Air Quality Fund charge on your vehicle registration form. In addition, grants from other agencies often help fund the program. No local tax revenue is used to support the Clean Air Program.

What We Do

As part of our clean air strategy we:

• Provide information to the public regarding current air quality conditions and associated health effects.
• Sponsor community awareness events encouraging citizens to reduce vehicle miles traveled and to use alternate modes of transportation.
• Develop and distribute free air quality curricula to schools.
• Provide teacher workshops to facilitate student air quality education.
• Conduct air quality demonstrations to students of all ages.
• Work with transportation planners to coordinate efforts towards reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.

What's In Our Air?

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality monitors for five air pollutants as required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These five are:

• nitrogen dioxide
• sulfur dioxide
• carbon monoxide
• ozone
• and particulate matter.

The levels of air pollutants are categorized as good, moderate, and unhealthful.
Nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide levels consistently fall within the good range, the remaining two pollutants often are measured in the moderate range. 
The three "problem" pollutants in Pima County are: carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas emitted in motor vehicle exhaust. Carbon monoxide levels tend to be higher in the winter because of stagnant air conditions.
Ground-level ozone is formed by the reaction of sunlight with motor vehicle exhaust and other pollutants. Ozone levels tend to be higher in the summer when we have more hours of sunlight.
Particulate matter consists of small particles, such as soot and dust, that come from motor vehicle emissions, tire and brake wear, earth-moving activities, fireplaces, and dust from unpaved surfaces. Particulate matter levels tend to be high during hot and dry times of the year.
In 1999, Pima County exceeded the federal health standard for particulate matter on four days. These four exceedances constitute a violation of the health standard. As a result of these exceedances, PDEQ is developing a Natural Events Action Plan to reduce future PM10 exceedances and protect public health.

Facts About Our Air

• Air pollution affects the health of all of us and causes a loss of lung capacity.
• Air pollution contributes to the development of diseases including bronchitis, emphysema and, possibly, cancer.
• About 50 percent of our air pollution in Pima County is caused by motor vehicle use.
• Tucsonans drive over 22,000,000 miles every day! (That's 77 trips to the moon.)
• Every 41 miles we drive puts one pound of pollution into the air.
• You're the solution to air pollution.

By doing your share you can help keep Pima County a clean and healthy community. Clean air is up to you.

Why Should You Care?

Air pollution is a serious threat to our health. Those especially at risk include children under 14, those over 65, pregnant women, outdoor exercisers, and individuals with lung and heart ailments. The long-term exposure to moderate levels of air pollution can damage even healthy people's lungs. Air pollution is also bad for our economy. The costs of air pollution include health care expenses, lost work due to illness, and damage to agricultural crops, buildings, paint, and rubber. Air pollution can also affect tourism and the ability of businesses and institutions to recruit quality employees. By following the suggestions given below, we can keep our community physically and economically healthy for future generations.

What You Can Do

An automobile is a tremendous convenience. But motor vehicles are Pima County's largest source of air pollution, and most vehicles are driven by motorists traveling alone. If enough people chose not to drive alone once or twice a week, our air pollution levels would decrease considerably.

• Join a carpool. Plan one day a week to meet a carpool at the day care center or nearby Park and Ride lot. Call 884-RIDE for free information on how to start a carpool.
• Bicycle or walk to nearby destinations whenever possible.
• You can save $1,000 a year by riding Sun Tran! Catch it at the corner, or drive to a Park & Ride lot. Call Sun Tran at 792-9222, for a free bus schedule or more information.
• Combine your errands into one trip to "skip a trip" whenever possible. A cold engine decreases efficiency by as much as 80 percent.
Some people have to travel alone. If you do, here are some things you can do to minimize your vehicle's polluting emissions:

• Keep your air filter clean and get regular tune-ups. A neglected car can reduce gas mileage by 20 percent.
• Make sure your tires are properly inflated. You can save $130 a year in gasoline costs!
• Trade your car in for a newer model. Newer cars are more efficient and pollute less.
• Don't "top off" your gas tank. By stopping at the click, you will reduce fumes that contribute to ozone creation.
• Avoid idling. In general, turning off and starting an engine uses less gasoline than letting it idle for 30 seconds.
Other actions you can take to reduce air pollution:
• Talk to your employer about the possibilities of telecommuting or working compressed work weeks.
• Paint with water-based paints and use brushes or rollers instead of a paint sprayer.
• If you are barbecuing, use an electric or chimney-type fire starter instead of lighter fluid.
• Support local clean air initiatives by letting your elected officials know how you feel about air pollution.
• Conserve electricity. Electrical generation is a source of air pollution.

 


Credits

The Clean Air Program is funded by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The program is administered by the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Special thanks to the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District for permission to reuse some brochure text.

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