GOOD TO KNOW
- The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six common air pollutants known as criteria air pollutants. These pollutants include particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and lead.
- The EPA developed the Air Quality Index or AQI to make citizens aware of pollution levels and how to avoid them. This is especially important for sensitive populations such as children, the elderly and anyone with respiratory problems such as asthma.
- Ground-level ozone, also known as smog, and airborne particulate matter are the pollutants of greatest threat to human health.
- About one-third of nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay comes from air pollution.
- Major sources of air pollution include power plants and vehicle exhaust.
GOOD TO DO
- Choose a cleaner commute — car pool, use public transportation, bike or walk when possible.
- Combine errands into one trip to reduce “cold starts” of your car and avoid extended idling.
- Ensure your tires are properly inflated.
- Keep cars, boats and other engines in good repair and running properly.
- Follow gasoline refueling instructions for efficient vapor recovery. Be careful not to spill fuel and always tighten your gas cap securely.
- When purchasing a new vehicle, consider electric, hybrids, FlexFuel and other fuel efficient vehicles. Use the fuel cost calculator to calculate the potential savings of a fuel efficient vehicle.
- Visit AirNow to monitor air pollution levels in Hampton Roads, especially if you or your children belong to a group susceptible to air pollution.
- Use environmentally-safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible.
- Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for use, and properly seal cleaners, paints and other chemicals to prevent evaporation into the air.
- Conserve electricity by setting your thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in winter.
- Look for the Energy Star label when buying home or office electronics and appliances.
- Consider using gas logs instead of wood-burning fireplaces. If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace insert, make sure it meets EPA design specifications. Burn only dry, seasoned wood.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
- Switch to Energy Star qualified light bulbs.
- Complete a home energy audit.
Lawn & Garden
- Rake leaves instead of using a leaf blower.
- Opt for a manual lawn mower instead of electric or fuel-burning models.
- Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste.
- Plant more plants, especially trees.