Monday, February 23, 2009

Helping Our Loved Ones by Reducing Air Pollution

Air quality in the New York area really hits home for me. I’ve lived here my entire life. I had my first bout with asthma when I was 12 years old. Now I have a son who is 5 years old. He had his first bout with asthma when he was 2. My daughter just turned 2 years old, and I’m really worried about her. As you can see, I’m a concerned parent.

This past summer, I was in Atlanta and heard a fascinating story about the health effects of air quality. In 1996, in preparation for the Summer Olympics, Atlanta planners banned single-occupancy vehicles (cars traveling with just a driver and no passengers) from traveling on the roads around the Olympic village. Only people taking transit, carpooling, biking or walking were allowed into the area. As a result, during the weeks of the Olympic games pediatric asthma-related hospital admissions dropped by more than 40 percent. Fewer cars likely led to healthier children.

If we all make small changes to our daily travel routines, it could make a big difference in our air quality and the air that our loved ones breathe. Instead of driving alone, we encourage you to carpool, ride a bike, take the train or a bus and combine your daily errands. Every little bit helps.

Frank Mongioi is the Clean Air NY Marketing and Outreach Manager.

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