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A slightly hazy City skyline from the Schuylkill River Trail at the South Street bridge.
A slightly hazy City skyline from the Schuylkill River Trail at the South Street bridge. Derek Lombardi, DVRPC.

Ways to Help Save the Air

What’s a Bad Air Day?

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It’s a day when our air here is predicted to be more polluted, which makes it harder to breathe outdoors and to conduct our daily activities.The main, dangerous pollutant is ground-level ozone, which is caused when fumes from vehicles, gas-powered equipment, and certain manufacturing operations heat up in high temperatures, making it worse during the summer. When the air is still, these invisible fumes take longer to dissipate, lingering in the air we breathe.

Thanks to scientists who have studied air quality and what negatively affects it for many years, we know what conditions to look for when predicting air quality. And research is ongoing to develop ways to reduce the pollution humans put out there – through different types of fuels, “cleaner” ways to generate electricity, regulations that help reduce pollutions during certain times of the day and the year, and voluntary actions regular citizens can take.

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But did you know you can help remedy the effects of this pollution? Taking some of the actions below helps make our air healthier for everyone!

  • Check the forecast daily at www.airqualitypartnership.org to prepare for the following day. (You can sign up to have forecasts emailed or texted to you, too.)
  • On “Code Red” and “Code Orange” days, limit your time outdoors, if possible, and reduce any strenuous activity. This is especially important for those who have asthma and other respiratory conditions.
  • Try to leave your car at home – take transit, share a ride or postpone trips.
  • If you must drive, you can plan ahead to “trip link” – run all your errands in one trip. Additionally, don’t let your car idle.
  • When you need to fill your gas tank, do it early in the morning or late at night, when it’s cooler and the fumes are less likely to pollute (and don’t “top off” your tank!).
  • Postpone running any gasoline-powered equipment like lawn mowers and leaf blowers.
  • When ordering products and gifts online, try to “bundle” or consolidate your orders so they arrive in fewer packages (this means fewer delivery vehicle trips).
  • Keep an eye on seniors and children as they are more susceptible to poor air quality, too.

You can learn more at www.airqualitypartnership.org. Or ask your employer to join the Air Quality Partnership – it’s free!

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