Air quality is an important factor in any community’s health and overall well-being.
Air Quality Awareness Week, April 27 – May 1, focuses on understanding how air quality affects our health and the importance of making an effort to reduce contributions to air pollution.
Although poor air quality can be hazardous to an entire community’s health, people with heart or lung disease are at greater risk, as are people with asthma, children, teenagers and older adults.
Ozone, or smog, and particle pollution, two of the most common pollutants in the United States, worsen symptoms like coughing and wheezing. Particle pollution is especially dangerous to those with cardiovascular disease as it contributes to heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest and heart failure.
Children and teenagers are more susceptible to air pollution than some adults because their lungs are still developing. They also breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults, and they are usually more active outdoors.
Diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and being overweight also increase risk of harm from particle pollution, particularly in older adults.
Even healthy adults who are active outdoors are at risk from ozone pollution. When ozone pollution is high, heavy breathing – from activities such as running, hiking, biking, etc. – can cause coughing or a scratchy throat and inflame and damage the lining of the lungs. Be sure to check the Air Quality Index before partaking in outdoor activities.
Communities must work together to improve air quality for overall health and quality of life.
You can reduce your emissions this week by participating in Air Quality Awareness Week:
Cycle Sunday: Ride your bicycle to places you would normally drive your car. Get some fresh air and save some gas.
Alternative Mode Monday: Utilize alternate modes of transportation. Consider taking the bus or carpool.
Ride Together Tuesday: Carpool to as many locations as possible. Riding together decreases the amount of emissions in the air.
Walk Somewhere Wednesday: Walk to nearby locations instead of driving. Increasing the number of steps you take will improve your health.
No Drive-Thru Thursday: Avoid the drive-thru and go inside to order your food, coffee or prescriptions. By doing this you will reduce exhaust emissions.
Fuel After Dark Friday: Hot temperatures and gasoline fumes create ground-level ozone. Reduce the effect and refuel your vehicle at night time.
Sweep it Up Saturday: Sweep your driveway, patio, deck, etc. instead of using a leaf blower. Get some exercise and breathe in fresh air while you burn a few calories.
Another great way to improve air quality in your community starts in your own backyard. Instead of burning your yard waste, compost it or take it to the Mesa County Landfill.
Learn more about air quality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. EPA.
Click here for tips on how to keep the air cleaner every day.