Air quality was labeled the biggest environmental issue in Mecklenburg County in the 2012 State of the Environment Report (SOER). What can an individual do to make a difference in the air we breathe?
Each section of the SOER has links for more information, and recommendations for ways residents can improve the local environment, particularly our air. They include such things as riding public transportation, joining a carpool, reducing idling, and keeping vehicles in good working order.
In addition to the report’s recommendations, other ways to help are:
For more information
To read more about the air quality section of the SOER report on our site: click here.
Park once. We often don’t realize how many of our trips are short. Adopting a “park once” philosophy could encourage you to find services and amenities clustered nearby, so you can combine trips, park once and walk to multiple destinations. In addition to saving on gas and parking costs, it will keep mileage down on your vehicle.
Shop local. Supporting local businesses that use locally produced items, and asking stores to carry them, can reduce the energy consumed by the long-haul transporting of goods.
Plant a tree. A tree is a powerful tool for cleaning the air and reducing storm water runoff, reducing nearby air temperatures, and adding a little beauty to your surroundings. Tree-lined streets encourage walking, especially in hot climates, and can improve pedestrian comfort and safety. Trees capture particulate matter in the air and are an important part of the carbon cycle. Choose species that are less likely to trigger allergies, and look for those that don’t produce nuisance fruits (especially in urban conditions).
Support acquiring and preserving strategic green spaces. Creating “airsheds,” or fingers of green space reaching into an urban area from surrounding hinterlands, can keep clean air moving through a city and help reduce ground-level ozone and temperature inversion. Many cities have ordinances requiring development to set aside land for open space or else pay into funds to help buy land for parks or other green spaces.
Make informed product choices. Use low- or no-VOC-emission products for paint, floor coverings, draperies, etc. Use products made from recycled or sustainable materials such as bamboo flooring, recycled glass countertops and mulch, or reclaimed wood. Re-use furniture. Keeping things out of landfills means less burning.