UUA Green Sanctuary Small changes made by many people make big changes for our world. Be part of it!
Green Living Ideas for: Improving the air you breathe 1
What It Takes: Easy/Med – Time to learn, use and share your knowledge
1) Know the truth and combat air quality misinformation when you hear it.
- Truth: Since the Clean Air Act passed in 1970 it has saved $22 trillion and paid for itself 30 times over. It saved 13 million lost work days in 2010 and is projected to prevent 220,000 premature deaths in 2020.
- Myth: “Our air is good; it is so much better than when I grew up here years ago.” Everyone agrees it is better. But, our air remains a significant challenge. We are still 1 of 13 areas nationwide that don’t meet Clean Air Act standards. The Pittsburgh, New Castle, Weirton area has the 8th worst air in the US. Two weeks ago we got an F across board from the American Lung Association, Sulphur dioxide, particulates, and ozone. 2 We are in the 12th Two out of 3 days we did not get a “good” air rating. Even New York City is in 40th percentile. 3
- Truth: Allegheny County is the 21st worst county out of 3200 nationwide in terms of cancer risk due to air pollution.
- Myth: “Our air pollution blows in from the states to our west. We can’t do anything about that.”
Allegheny is the third worst county nationwide in terms of cancer risk due to point source pollution (creating the pollution right here). It is not just from the Mon Valley, either. Ten of the 14 regional monitors had readings in the worst 25%. It is all over the area.
- Truth: Improving our air quality can be a source of inspiration, innovation and jobs.
2) Sign up for the local air quality forecast. If it is poor, consider minimizing your impact.
Go to AirNow scroll to the bottom to have the air quality forecast emailed daily to your inbox. If poor,
- Skip mowing the lawn
- Drive less – car pool, take public transportation, combine trips
- Avoid open burning
3) If you smell something, say something! Get the Smell Pittsburgh app to report smells in your location. The app sends the information to CMU, allows you to see other bad air reports coming in that day, and sends it to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD). ACHD is then required to respond to investigate the reports. 4 Download the app: Google Play, iPhone
4) Learn about air pollution at your house and in the area. The Breathe Project is working to promote clean air and inspire healthy communities across southwestern Pennsylvania. Visit http://breatheproject.org/ . Check out the breathe meter, Pittsburgh breathe cams and the pollution map – type in your address to find your color.
5) Consider monitoring and/or just taking steps to improve your indoor air quality. Even if the breathe project pollution map says the air outside your house is poor, it doesn’t have to be inside where you spend most of your time. Also, if your outside air is good, the inside may not be. Click for steps you can take. https://www.specksensor.com/learn/air-quality
6) Take action. The Clean Air Act and other EPA progress is under attack both nationally and locally. The American Lung Association asks us to urge EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to fully fund, implement and enforce the Clean Air Act for all pollutants—including those that drive climate change and make it harder to achieve healthy air for all. Click Save the Clean Air Act. In addition, send the same message to President Trump and your congressional representatives.
What You Get: Information to help improve our air quality and your health
World Benefit: Cleaner air and better health.
References: 1) Information summarized from presentation by Matt Mehalik during the April 30th Earth day service