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 Congress

Don’t block the power plant mercury and air toxic standards. Send a message to your Senators urging them to support cleaner, healthier air and oppose measures to block or delay the cleanup of hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants.

Share your story

Do you or any member of your family have a personal reason to want healthier, cleaner air? Let us know how healthy air affects you.

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.

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.

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

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.

FACT: When inhaled, ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn within the lungs.

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