The 11th annual Air Quality Awareness Week takes place May 1 - May 5, 2017. During this week, everyone is encouraged to "Be Air Aware” at the start of Clean Air Month.
That being said, here are a few points to be aware of regarding air quality.
Clean air is air which has a natural balance of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Clean air does not contain pollutants or allergens, does not harm the environment, nor is it a cause or trigger of health problems. However, poor quality air can harm the environment and can affect us all.
We are all exposed to particulate matter (PM), or airborne particles, which include dust, dirt, soot, and smoke. Some particles are directly emitted into the air by vehicles, factories, construction sites and wood burning while other particles are formed in the air when gases from burning fuels react with sunlight and water vapor. This pollution can contribute to a multitude of pulmonary and cardiac issues, as well as a variety of serious environmental impacts such as acidification of lakes and streams and nutrient depletion in soil.
While we cannot control all air pollution sources, everyone can contribute to enhancing better air quality by taking small measures such as riding your bike or walking instead of driving, combining all your short trips into one trip and getting rid of any junk in your trunk. Vehicles on the road create more than 25 percent of all air pollution nationwide. The weight of any extra cargo in your vehicle makes engines work harder and burn more gas so on average you get 4 percent less gas mileage for every 100 pounds of excess weight carried in your car. That can cost you about a dollar every time you fill up your gas tank!
Clean Air Month is a time to celebrate the progress that has been made to improve air quality, and a time to think about what small steps we all can take to help keep our air clean.
For more information on air quality and how you can help to improve it, please visit AirNow and The American Lung Association.