What You Can Do

Individual citizens can do a great deal to help reduce air pollution outdoors as well. Simple but effective ways include:

  • Send a message to EPA.Send a message to tell EPA to clean up hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants. Tell EPA you support stronger standards for ozone and particle pollution to limit how much of those pollutants can be in the air.
  • Tell the President and Congress that you support the Clean Air Act and that they should, too. Send a message to tell them to keep the safeguards in place in this public health law.
  • Drive less. Combine trips, walk, bike, carpool or vanpool, and use buses, subways or other alternatives to driving. Vehicle emissions are a major source of air pollution. Support community plans that provide ways to get around that don’t require a car, such as more sidewalks, bike trails and transit systems.
  • Don’t burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the largest sources of particles in many parts of the country. If you must use a fireplace or stove for heat, convert your woodstoves to natural gas, which has far fewer polluting emissions. Compost and recycle as much as possible and dispose of other waste properly; don’t burn it. Support efforts in your community to ban outdoor burning of construction and yard wastes. Avoid the use of outdoor hydronic heaters, also called outdoor wood boilers, which are frequently much more polluting than woodstoves.
  • Make sure your local school system requires clean school buses, which includes replacing or retrofitting old school buses with filters and other equipment to reduce emissions. Make sure your local schools don’t idle their buses, a step that can immediately reduce emissions.
  • Get involved. Participate in your community’s review of its air pollution plans and support state and local efforts to clean up air pollution. To find your local air pollution control agency, go to www.4cleanair.org.
  • Use less electricity. Turn out the lights and use energy-efficient appliances. Generating electricity is one of the biggest sources of pollution, particularly in the eastern United States.

FACT: Do you live near, or work on or near a busy highway? Pollution from the traffic may put you at greater risk of harm.

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Content

SOTA 2011 Survey