Re­duce Ve­hi­cle Emis­sions With Kids Back In School

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS -

Pollution from back-tos­chool traf­fic could cause a spike in ozone. With school back in ses­sion the Val­ley Air District is ask­ing the public to re­duce ve­hi­cle emis­sions by car­pool­ing or walking their chil­dren to school and to re­frain from ve­hi­cle idling dur­ing school pick-ups and drop-offs. Triple-digit tem­per­a­tures and mul­ti­ple wild­fires may also im­pact Val­ley air qual­ity, and the public’s help is cru­cial in re­duc­ing the risk of spikes in groundlevel ozone and ex­ceed­ing fed­eral air qual­ity stan­dards.

“Thanks to the vig­i­lance and co­op­er­a­tion of res­i­dents and busi­nesses through­out the Val­ley, we con­tinue to see im­prove­ments in air qual­ity every sum­mer,” said Seyed Sadredin, the District’s air pollution con­trol of­fi­cer and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “We urge the public to be even more mind­ful of their con­tri­bu­tions to poor air qual­ity.”

Val­ley air qual­ity has shown tremen­dous im­prove­ment over the past sev­eral sum­mer ozone sea­sons com­pared to many years ago, and has con­tin­u­ally set new im­prove­ment records over the past 35 years. Th­ese im­prove­ments would not be pos­si­ble with­out the suc­cess of the District’s con­trol strat­egy through its var­i­ous at­tain­ment plan­ning ef­forts, its ro­bust in­cen­tive pro­grams, and the com­mit­ment from Val­ley stake­hold­ers do­ing their part to re­duce emis­sions as much as pos­si­ble.

To en­sure that th­ese clean air trends con­tinue dur­ing the Back-to-School sea­son, the Val­ley Air District may call for the public to take ac­tion when con­di­tions such as in­creased emis­sions, high tem­per­a­tures and stag­nant air flow are fa­vor­able for ozone ac­cu­mu­la­tion. Res­i­dents and busi­nesses are urged to re­duce ve­hi­cle emis­sions by driv­ing less, re­frain­ing from idling their ve­hi­cles, car­pool­ing or van­pool­ing and avoid­ing the use of drive-through ser­vices. Other mea­sures, such as shift­ing ozone-cre­at­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing lawn main­te­nance to early morn­ings, can also help off­set ris­ing ozone lev­els.

To help min­i­mize pollution as­so­ci­ated with school site ve­hi­cle idling, the District has part­nered with hun­dreds of Val­ley schools through the Healthy Air Liv­ing Schools pro­gram. The pro­gram gives schools tools and ma­te­ri­als to en­cour­age par­ents to “Turn the Key & Be Idle Free” when pick­ing up or drop­ping off stu­dents.

In ad­di­tion, the pro­gram trains schools on how to use the Real-time Air Ad­vi­sory Net­work (RAAN) and Re­al­time Out­door Ac­tiv­ity Risk (ROAR) Guide­lines. Schools, par­ents or any Val­ley res­i­dent can check cur­rent, lo­cal­ized air qual­ity by sub­scrib­ing to RAAN, which links a com­puter or iPhone app to any air mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion in the District’s Val­ley-wide net­work. Hourly, au­to­mated emails are de­liv­ered when air qual­ity is chang­ing.

To ex­plore th­ese tools, visit www.val­leyair.org/RAAN or www.val­leyair.org/WAAQS. Res­i­dents can also check their daily air qual­ity fore­cast by call­ing 1-800 SMOG INFO (766-4463). Plus, visit the District on Face­book or Twit­ter by search­ing “Val­ley Air District.”

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