Take action April 26-30 to prepare for smog season in Georgia
(ATLANTA, GA 04.15.10)
Earlier today, Governor Sonny Perdue proclaimed April 26-30 as Air Quality Awareness Week in Georgia. The governor is supporting The Clean Air Campaign’s efforts to educate Georgians about the effects of air pollution in anticipation of the start of smog season on May 1.
Georgia’s hottest months, May through September, combined with high humidity and stagnant winds create ideal conditions for smog. Air Quality Awareness Week is a reminder that there are actions residents and businesses can take to make a difference.
“It may seem like one person can’t affect something as large as air pollution, but every small change that Georgians make adds up fast,” said Kevin Green, executive director of The Clean Air Campaign. “Breathing is not optional. It’s estimated that half of all smog-forming emissions come from tailpipes, so for every car we take off the road, we’re one step closer to healthier air.”
A healthier environment isn’t the only benefit of a commute alterative. Saving money is another reason to try, considering it costs 54 cents per mile to drive an average-sized car – and that adds up fast. Earning money provides commuters with extra motivation to take action now. Through the Commuter Rewards program, The Clean Air Campaign pays commuters $3 a day, up to $100, when they switch from driving alone to carpooling, teleworking, riding transit, bicycling or walking.
Against the backdrop of tighter federal air quality standards that could arrive later in the year, the voluntary actions of Georgia commuters, employers and schools play an increasingly significant role in reducing air pollution and protecting public health.
Susan Meehan found that using an alternative, Gwinnett County Transit in this case, not only saved her money and provided a more relaxing commute, but also had a positive impact on one of her hobbies: walking.
“I am an avid walker and have walked half marathons across the United States,” said Meehan. “I definitely notice the negative effects of air pollution when walking, so I have chosen to use transit and carpooling to help improve our air quality. Not only am I taking my car off the road, but I’ve been able to save on parking and gas costs, and eliminate commute stress.”
Although air quality is not an exact science, there are methods in place to measure and forecast pollution levels. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division measures air pollution levels throughout the state. Air quality is then reported using the Air Quality Index, a color-coded scale that provides easy-to-understand information, including any cautionary health information. Pollution levels are reported as Good (green), Moderate (yellow), Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange), Unhealthy (red) or Very Unhealthy (purple). Smog Alerts are issued when the air is projected to exceed federal limits – or reach Code Orange, Red or Purple.
To learn more about air quality or to sign up for Smog Alerts visit CleanAirCampaign.org.
About The Clean Air Campaign
The Clean Air Campaign is a not-for-profit organization that works with Georgia's employers, commuters and schools to encourage actions that result in less traffic congestion and better air quality. To accomplish this goal, The Clean Air Campaign, along with its associate organizations, partners with more than 1,600 employers to create custom commute options programs; and annually helps thousands of commuters find commute alternatives that work for them, providing financial incentives to get them started. The Clean Air Campaign also protects public health by issuing Smog Alerts and empowers students, parents and teachers to play a positive role in reducing traffic and cleaning the air through a multi-faceted education program reaching elementary, middle and high schools.
Each day, these programs reduce 1.6 million miles of vehicle travel and keep 800 tons of pollution out of the air we breathe. For more information, call 1-877-CLEANAIR (1-877-253-2624) or visit http://www.CleanAirCampaign.org.
Media Contact:Lindsay Durfee/Sarah Waters