“Show How You Care About the Air” During National Air Quality Awareness Week

4/29/2016
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As the weather warms and we begin spending more time outside, some people may start thinking about the air we breathe and how to protect it. You might be surprised to learn that using the correct light bulbs, properly inflating your vehicle tires and reducing vehicle idling time are all ways to reduce air pollution and “Show How You Care About the Air.”

In recognition of National Air Quality Awareness Week – May 2 through May 6 – the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is teaming up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a national effort to make citizens aware of simple daily choices that can affect their air quality.

“While things like using different light bulbs and checking the air in your tires may seem insignificant, all of these small things add up when we all join together,” said DAQ Director Fred Durham. “If we work together, we can reduce our footprint and save money in the process.”

Any time you use energy, you contribute to air pollution. Using energy-efficient lighting and appliances not only reduce air pollution, it can help save you money. Also consider buying electric or battery-powered lawn care equipment. If you do use gasoline-fueled devices, try to prevent spills and overfills. Even small gasoline spills evaporate and pollute the air and groundwater.

Transportation choices can play a significant role in air quality improvement. Choose alternatives to driving such as taking the bus, carpooling, biking or walking to your destination. If those alternatives are not options, try these tips: turn off your engine instead of idling; keep your tires properly inflated for better fuel usage; combine trips; and, refuel in the evening hours when fumes from refueling won’t combine with the sun’s heat to increase ozone levels.

Visitors to DEP’s headquarters in the Kanawha City area of Charleston during National Air Quality Awareness Week can learn about ways to reduce their contribution to air pollution and check the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) at a display set up in the lobby. The agency also encourages residents to check out videos on the topic on our YouTube page at this link.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) for nine areas in West Virginia can be obtained by visiting DEP’s DAQ page here. The AQI is reported for Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Moundsville, Parkersburg, Weirton and Wheeling year round. The reported index is the calculated value for the past 24 hours and is updated Monday through Friday. During ozone season, April 1 through Oct. 31, Greenbrier County and Martinsburg information is also reported.

DAQ is involved in outreach throughout the year aimed at helping members of the public learn more about how personal decisions affect air quality. A video of some of the agency’s outreach displays can be seen on YouTube here. For more information on Air Quality Awareness Week, visit https://www3.epa.gov/airnow/airaware/.

For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about our REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan), West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia Watershed Improvement Branch, Youth Environmental Program and Human Resources initiatives, connect on Facebook. 
 
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Contact:

Kelley Gillenwater
304-926-0499, ext. 1331
kelley.j.gillenwater@wv.gov
 

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