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  • Seven words for a clean air commute

    Apr 04, 2022 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s (PDEQ) Clean Air Program launches the spring #ThisIsCleanAir Challenge by inviting the public to submit super-short seven-word stories about their personal experience commuting to work or school using an alternate mode of transportation. Concise descriptive words can be surprisingly, witty, profound and poetic. Alternate modes of travel include bicycling, walking, taking transit, teleworking, carpooling, and compressed work schedules.
    Blue sky Saguaros on hill

    Entries submitted by Earth Day, April 22, are eligible for prizes, and seven winners will be selected randomly. Prizes include winner’s choice of a Hydro Flask bottle, bike pannier, insulated backpack cooler or Loop bike jersey. Pima County residents, 18 years of age and older, may submit their stories (and photos) in celebration of National Poetry Month and to highlight personal efforts to keep our air healthy to breathe, as well as save money on costly gasoline.

    April 1 marks the official start of ground level ozone season, which will last through September. Ground-level ozone is a pollutant of concern in the summer months. The precursor pollutants that combine to form ground-level ozone come from many different sources, including automobiles, industries, power plants, and even certain types of vegetation. However, motor vehicles are the single largest source of air pollution and greenhouse gases in Pima County.

    PDEQ’s Clean Air Program encourages all drivers to travel as efficiently as possible and choose alternate modes of transportation when feasible. “Choosing to bike, walk, telework, take transit or carpool, even one day a week, will help keep air healthy and reduce the effects of climate change,” says Natalie Shepp, a PDEQ Senior Program Manager. “Driving less will help protect the health of those most at risk, including young children, older adults, and those with respiratory diseases such as asthma and heart disease,” she continued. Even healthy individuals who work or exercise outdoors can experience respiratory distress during times of high exposure to air pollution.

    PDEQ requests that participants also indicate on the entry form how many vehicle miles they avoid driving in a typical week by teleworking, taking transit, biking, walking, carpooling, or skipping trips.

    PDEQ’s #ThisIsCleanAir Challenge has great potential to inspire community-wide actions for keeping the air clean. For more information regarding local air quality and the #ThisIsCleanAir Challenge, visit www.pima.gov/HealthyAir.

    And remember, healthy air is in our hands!