Air Quality Awareness: Clean Air NJ
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New Jersey has made significant progress in improving its air quality, but more work is still needed.
New Jersey’s Air Quality Awareness for 2017 focuses on educating the public about air quality, air pollution, the impacts of air pollution and what everyone can do to help reduce these impacts on human health and the environment. Air Quality Awareness Week is timed to the beginning of the ozone season to educate these individuals and the general public on what they can do to protect themselves from the health impacts of ozone.
Ozone is a gas that is found in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground-level. Ozone found in the upper atmosphere, called the stratosphere, is good because it protects the earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Ozone near the ground is bad for humans, plants, and many materials.
The beginning of ozone season is important to sensitive individuals, including those with respiratory and heart illness, older adults, young children and people who are active outdoors. Elevated levels of ozone occur with the onset of warm weather and exposure to these levels can trigger health problems, such as chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion in these individuals. It can also worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.
Inspection of sources of air pollution, responding to complaints about air pollution, and enforcing air pollution rules is done by the Air Compliance and Enforcement Program. We also work closely with the NJDEP’s Greenhouse Gas and Energy Program. The regulation of greenhouse gas air pollutants is a relatively new area of emphasis.
Simple changes to your everyday routine can reduce air pollution, lessen the impact to your health and the environment, and likely save you money in the process.
- Participate in your local utilities energy conservation programs. This will reduce the pollution from power plants.
- Keep cars, trucks, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment properly tuned and maintained to reduce air pollution.
- Fill your gas tank during the cooler evening hours and be careful not to spill gasoline.
- Reduce driving. Carpool, use public transportation, walk, or bicycle to reduce ozone pollution, especially on hot summer days.
- Use household and garden chemicals wisely. Use paints and solvents with little or no volatile organic compounds. Be sure to read labels for proper use and disposal.