Governor Chris Christie has pronounced May 1st through 5th Air Quality Awareness week in the state of New Jersey. This holiday focuses on educating residents about air pollution and how to make changes in daily life to make a positive impact on air quality in order to reduce impacts on human health and the environment.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has regulations in place to improve air quality. There are now better pollution controls on trucks, cars, and power plants. In addition, consumer products now contain less volatile organic substances.
New Jersey has attained acceptable fine particulate matter concentrations set by the USEPA, however, ozone pollution is still a problem. As regulations became stricter in 2015, the state of New Jersey must continue to decrease ozone levels to meet these standards.
When temperatures start to rise in the spring in New Jersey, ground level ozone or smog begins to accumulate. Smog is a strong respiratory irritant and can impact the health of many. Smog can bring on asthma attacks, and lead to the onset or worsening of symptoms related to cardiovascular illnesses.
We can all take part in bettering Air Quality by:
– Combining automobile trips to reduce “cold starts.”
– Choosing a cleaner commute by carpooling, using public transportation, biking or walking when possible.
– When refueling vehicles, ask the station attendant to stop when the nozzle clicks off, to prevent overfilling. Tighten the gas cap securely. Refuel vehicles in the late afternoon or after dark to reduce evaporation of gasoline, a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) capable of forming smog.
– Maintaining an energy-efficient vehicle. Keep vehicle tires properly inflated to increase gas mileage and reduce engine emissions.
– Cleaning and painting using products with low VOC content or none at all. Water-based products are best.
– Considering an electric vehicle when it’s time to purchase your next car.
You can check your local air quality index at: http://www.njaqinow.net/
You can learn more about ground-level ozone at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/cleanairnj/
Environmental Scientist, JM Sorge, Inc.