Clean Air in May

Clean+Air+in+May+

Ed Heaton

Did you know May is Clean Air Month? Ever since the passing of the Clean Air Act of 1970, awareness has been raised about the importance of the air we breathe in. It has also helped to improve the quality of our air vastly. For example, from 2000 to 2010, carbon monoxide pollution went down 51%, and from 1980 to 2010, lead pollution went down 89%.Think about it: maybe you don’t smoke a cigarette every day, but if you’re breathing in lead and carbon monoxide, your lungs are not going to thank you. After all, there’s no way to avoid the air, so we better hope that it’s healthy. Air pollution can lead to horrible diseases like cancer or bronchitis, and it can also make things like asthma worse.

So, how exactly can we reduce the amount of air pollution, keeping both us and the Earth healthy? Small steps do make a difference.

A huge source of air pollution is from cars. Ground level ozone is a result of air pollution through vehicles as well as industrial and manufacturing plants. Ground level ozone can cause serious respiratory problems, especially for children whose lungs are still developing.

So what can you do? Carpool. Next time you’re on the highway, take a look around: how many cars have just one person in them? Are you in the only one in your car? Carpooling will not only reduce the amount of toxic emissions let off by vehicles, it will also save you some gas money. If both your friends and your self are going to the same place, there’s no need to take four different cars.

If money is not an issue for you, you could even consider purchasing an environmentally friendly car. Cars like Toyota Priuses can get close to, or above, fifty miles a gallon. Again, you’re helping reduce toxic emissions while saving yourself some money.

Are you going someplace nearby? Try biking or walking! It’s healthy, and has zero toxic effects on the environment.

Besides transportation, there are many things you can do to help keep the air clean.

Recycling reduces air pollution up to 74% when compared to making new products from raw materials. When you recycle, less energy is used in places like factories, which means less waste will go into the air.

Keep your fireplaces and wood stoves clean and maintained. Smoke and other “particle pollutants” are small, so they can go deep into the lungs. They also cause things like haze and smog, as well as soot on buildings.

Furthermore, tons of air pollution is caused by large factories. These giant manufacturing plants destroy the air. Every day, pollutants are released as a result of making things that we probably don’t even need. Buying less material goods will help reduce air pollution because of simple supply and demand, and will reduce the amount of trash in landfills. In 2006, Americans put 251 million tons of trash into landfills, which in turn is going to take energy and cause air pollution for just moving and incinerating that trash, which in itself is going to create a lot of air pollution.

We often forget that electricity has to be generated by a power plant before it gets to us. This process, like those of other manufacturing plants, pollutes the air. One way to reduce the amount of electricity used is by unplugging. Your chargers do not need to be plugged in if you’re not using them, neither do CD players or anything else. Even if it’s inactive in your eyes, it’s still using up electricity.

By taking these small steps, you can help combat air pollution and make the world a healthier and cleaner place for you and future generations to come.

Sources:

http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/cleanairmonth.html

http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/Air_Pollution_Statistics

http://www.epa.gov/region4/rcra/mgtoolkit/Community.html

http://epa.gov/airquality/peg_caa/cleanup.html

http://epa.gov/airquality/peg_caa/cleanup.html

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-footprint/trash-talk.html

http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/air-emissions.html