CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Pretty much everyone will occasionally use a drive-through to pick up food or prescriptions. Many of us also idle our car longer than necessary on cold mornings to warm it up. When we do these things, we’re contributing to air pollution. Everyone does in some way, most of the time not even realizing it.
In recognition of National Air Quality Awareness Week this week, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Centers for Disease Control in a national effort to make citizens aware of simple daily choices which can affect their air quality.
“Small changes can make a big impact if everyone does their part,” said DAQ Director Fred Durham. “We all benefit from good air quality and therefore we all should work to keep it clean.”
Transportation choices can play a significant role in air quality improvement. Choose alternatives to driving – take the bus, carpool, bike or walk to your destination. If alternatives are not an option, 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.
Any time you use energy, you contribute to air pollution. Using energy-efficient lighting and appliances not only reduce air pollution, they help save you money. Also consider buying electric or battery-powered lawn care equipment. If using gasoline-fueled devices, prevent spills and overfills. Even small gasoline spills evaporate and pollute the air and groundwater.
Visitors to DEP’s headquarters in the Kanawha City area of Charleston this week can learn about ways to reduce their contribution to air pollution 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: https://www.youtube.com/user/WVEnvironment.
DAQ is involved in outreach throughout the year aimed at helping young people learn more about how personal decisions affect air quality. A video of some of the agency's outreach displays can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh0Th72F5YA.
For more information on Air Quality Awareness Week, visit www.epa.gov/airnow/airaware/.
Information on West Virginia’s air quality may be obtained by visiting www.dep.wv.gov/daq/air-monitoring/Pages/AirQualityIndex.aspx.
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 the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia NonPoint Source and Youth Environmental programs, connect on Facebook.