Little Steps, Big Impact

Saving the environment seems like a daunting task. But, there are little changes you can make in your everyday routine to improve the metro's air quality.

On warm days especially, our air quality is compromised by ground­level ozone emissions. Higher ozone levels occur when common airborne pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), react with sunlight and heat. These pollutants are generated most by vehicle exhaust and petroleum evaporative loss.

Ground­level ozone is different than the ozone in the upper atmosphere that protects us from the sun's ultraviolet rays. This ground­level ozone compromises air quality because it makes the air we breathe unhealthy. It can cause people to experience difficulty breathing, coughing, and stinging eyes, and is especially unhealthy for the elderly, children, and people with heart and lung conditions.

Try implementing a few of the following practices in your daily routine to improve the air we breathe:

  • Drive less ­ walk, bike, take the bus, carpool, or complete errands in a single trip.
  • Avoid the heat ­ refuel your car or lawn mower in the cooler parts of the day, after 7pm so fumes can disperse overnight.
  • Back off at the pump ­ don't top off your gas tank. Stop when the gas pump clicks off, or you can ruin your car's vapor recovery system
  • Resist idling­ If your car is going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn it off. Idling for even 30 seconds uses more fuel than stopping and starting the engine.
  • Think alternatively­ small engines, like those found in gas­powered mowers, leaf blowers and trimmers, release as much as 25% unburned gasoline in the air. Go electric or manual, or mow in the cooler hours of the day.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Federal Air Quality Index (AQI) that indicates when ozone concentration levels have reached unhealthy highs. These levels are carefully monitored by MAPA and its partners at the Douglas County Health Department. If you would like to receive warnings issued by MAPA and the Douglas County Health Department when ozone levels are particularly high, follow us on Twitter, @mapacog.

For more information, visit www.littlestepsbigimpact.com or www.douglascountyhealth.com.

Grand Totals

6689 Rides
68788.74 Miles
18.391 tons CO2 saved

Bus Leaders

Matt Storck 1880
Henry Cheng 1800
Robert Beckerbauer 1740

Carpool Leaders

cory hoover 2460
Pam Squier 1920
Deepak Pawar 1720

Walk Leaders

Sherie Meyer 2860
Cat King 2780
kelsey fillman 1800