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10 Things You Can Do to Help Clean the Air

Air quality in Southern California has improved dramatically since World War II. However, we still have a long way to go to meet state and federal air quality health standards. We offer the following suggestions on how you can join the South Coast Air Quality Management District in “Cleaning the Air We Breathe.” Together, we are making a difference.

  Motor vehicles are responsible for more than half of all smog-forming emissions. When buying your next vehicle, consider choosing one of the lowest-polluting models available. For more information, go to www.cleanairchoices.org.


AQMD relies on feedback from businesses and the general public to help design its regulations and programs. Help shape the region’s path to clean air by joining an AQMD Clean Air Congress. For more information, call 1-800-CUT- SMOG.

Some older vehicles and those that are improperly maintained emit at least 20 times more pollution than newer models in good working order. Report smoking vehicles and suspected air pollution violations by calling 1-800-CUT-SMOG.

Vehicles in the Southland traveled 336 million miles in 2000, and the increased congestion slowed travel to an average of 38 mph on freeways and arterial streets. Help cut pollution by driving less. Consider carpooling to work one day a week or more. Combine shopping errands into one trip or shop by phone, mail or the Internet. Also drive smart by avoiding “jack rabbit” starts, obeying the speed limit and using cruise control to maintain a steady speed.
 

Dry cleaners in the region emit about 850 tons a year of a toxic chemical called perchloroethylene. Try non-toxic alternatives to dry
cleaning such as professional wet cleaning.


During the recent energy crisis, some Southland power plants increased their electric output and their emissions. Californians also did a better than expected job at conservation. If you haven’t already, choose from the many options available to conserve energy – and save money – such as using compact fluorescent light bulbs, using the microwave to cook small meals and buying energy-efficient appliances when you replace old ones.

Painting homes and other structures causes more than 50 tons per day of smog-forming pollutants – five times the amount from all the area’s oil refineries. Read paint labels and choose coatings that contain little or no smog-forming pollutants, identified as volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

  Energy needed for summertime air conditioning boosts power plant emissions. Plant a tree to help shade your home and cool it naturally.



In one year of operation, one older gasoline-powered lawn mower pollutes as much as a new car driven 86,000 miles. Help cut pollution by purchasing an electric mower when you replace your gasoline-powered model.



While many Southern Californians enjoy a summer cookout, traditional barbecues can be a significant source of air pollution. A simple solution is to replace your old barbecue with a natural gas grill.

Some local utilities even offer rebates when purchasing gas grills.
 
Learn more about what you can do at www.cleanairchoices.org



This page updated: February 24, 2010
URL: http://www.aqmd.gov/ej/CAC/ten_things.htm