By Desirae Contreras |Staff Writer|
Yotes can take part in cleaning up the air that we breathe.
According to the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) of Southern California air pollution in the area has improved dramatically since the 1940s. However, the website states we still have a long way to go to meet state and federal air quality health standards.
The AQMD suggests ways for making a difference in today’s environment by following 10 easy steps towards decreasing pollution.
First, CSUSB students can take part by converting from older vehicles to eco- friendly ones that produce less carbon emissions, thus reducing pollution.
“Start by eliminating dirty diesels’ pollution in the air by requiring fleets of school buses, transit buses and street sweepers to phase in clean burning vehicles,” states AQMD.
“One thing we can do to help reduce the air pollution around our area is carpool to school, whether it be with our friends or by public transit. It’s for our benefit and the environment,” said student Merrill Desai.
According to the AQMD website, motor vehicles are responsible for more than half of all smog-forming emissions. Some older vehicles and those that are improperly maintained emit at least 20 times more pollution than newer models.
Since gas prices are on the rise, it is not only more convenient to rely on eco-friendly transportation but more affordable for college students.
“Since CSUSB is a commuter school, we would reduce the number of cars that release pollution. Even if it’s a few times a week, this can benefit the air so we wouldn’t have to pay high prices on parking permits because we would ride the bus for free with our school I.D.,” said Desai.
Secondly, we can all protect our health, communities and families by reducing smoke pollution caused by wood burning and cigarettes.
Wood burning stoves and other wood-burning devices are used in an estimated 1.4 million households in the Southland and they emit an average of six tons per day of particulate matter (PM) emissions. The Southland has a level of PM2.5, the highest in the nation.
Particulate matter is made up of particles found in the air that can cause serious health damage. Once inhaled it enters the lungs and respiratory system. Particles including dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets are suspended in the air for long periods of time and can lead to premature deaths, particularly among those with heart and lung conditions.
In addition, the AQMD website explains that traditional barbecuing can cause air pollution. A quick switch to a gas grill can put an end to PM emissions.
“If we can all come together, stop being lazy and money-hungry, we can definitely make a difference,” said student Kimberly Rodriguez. “Riding our bikes, taking the bus, recycling, turning off the lights when not needed, and using a fan instead of air conditioning will make a big difference in our pockets and environment.”
Aside from recycling paper, plastics and metals, try painting with a brush not a sprayer, dry your clothes on a clothesline, plant trees for shade and use a push or electric lawn mower. Also printing and photocopying on both sides of a paper is an economical choice CSUSB students can take part in.
Furthermore, a simple switch to fluorescent light bulbs and purchasing energy efficient appliances is key to helping conserve energy, the environment and your pocket book.
Start today by reporting smoking vehicles and suspected air pollution violations by dialing 1-800-CUT-SMOG.
If you are interested in joining the South Coast Air Quality Management District, “Cleaning the Air That We Breathe,” go to www.CleanAirChoices.org for more information.
Photos by Desirae Contreras