E COUNTY LINE

The Top 10 Things You Can Do For Air Quality Awareness Month

Reusable grocery bag
May is Air Quality Awareness Month and Broward County’s Air Quality Program is providing educational resources so you can make greener lifestyle changes to protect our clean air. The following “Top 10 things to Do” will help keep the air cleaner, eliminate waste, save wildlife and money:

  1. Use cloth reusable shopping bags every time you shop. American shoppers use 380 billion plastic bags annually. That’s about 60,000 plastic bags every five seconds. Much of those plastic bags end up in landfills, but they also find their way to natural habitats. Because plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose, a single plastic bag could harm several animals.

    According to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic bags rank among the top trash items collected during coastal cleanups and pose a threat to marine animals that can suffocate or choke on a floating bag.

    If you must use a bag, tie it into a large, dense knot before tossing it in the trash to lower chances that the wind blows it from a garbage truck into the environment.

  2. Schedule your errands back-to-back. Starting a car with a warm engine causes five times less pollution than starting a car with a cold engine. Keeping your errands eco-friendly by planning them back-to-back will keep your engine warm while reducing your miles driven, cutting down on harmful emissions.
  3. Remove the screensaver from your home computer. Screensavers consume 100 watts of power, compared to 10 watts in sleep mode. Set your computer to enter sleep mode after 30 minutes or less (usually found in the Control Panel – Power Options section).
  4. Put a cover on your pool. Pools require a lot of energy just to be heated. Pool covers reduce heat loss and can cut water evaporation by up to 90 percent. Leaving your pool uncovered while heating it is like turning on the air conditioning full blast and leaving your windows and doors open.
  5. Turn your car off while you wait. For every minute your car idles, it emits 7 grams of pollutants like nitrous oxides and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Every 10 minutes of idling, your car consumes 25 gallons of gas per year. If only 10 percent of the U.S. population avoided idling for 5 minutes each day, CO2 emissions would decrease by 1 million tons and save more than 422,000 gallons of gas a year.
  6. Make solar power work for you. Solar energy in the form of photovoltaic (PV) panels can be installed on roofs, steel poles or on the ground, depending on your local regulations. Broward County’s Go SOLAR program is a good resource if you would like to install solar. You will save money in the long run and you can estimate how much greenhouse gas in carbon dioxide will be reduced.
  7. Participate in Walk to Lunch Day. On Friday, May 31, the Air Quality Program is asking all Broward County employees to walk to a lunch destination instead of driving. Take the Walk to Lunch Day Pledge to win prizes!
  8. Remember to check the Air Quality Index. This is especially important for those with respiratory ailments, children and the elderly. Call 954-519-1280 for today’s Air Quality Index.
  9. Enviroflash
    Sign up for Enviroflash which will immediately notify subscribers, via email or pager, when the air quality index falls out of the “good” category. The email provides information on the air quality level and what precautions should be taken. Visit broward.org/pollutionprevention and click on AIR QUALITY to sign up for Enviroflash.
  10. LIKE us on Facebook at Broward County Environment for environmental updates and events!

For more information and more tips visit the Air Quality Awareness website.