Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Share a Ride this Independence Day

Fireworksimage by digitizedchaos used under Creative Commons license

Every Fourth of July, we gather with friends and family across the country for festivities large and small. Unfortunately, many people will need to travel to their celebrations, placing greater demand on our transportation infrastructure and increasing the risk of higher air pollution levels, particularly because summer heats the skies.

When traveling during this patriotic holiday, Clean Air NY asks that you be mindful of your impact on New York’s air quality. Try to find someone to share a ride to your activities. Many people hosting parties and events create pages for them on Facebook, so it can be as easy as going to that page’s wall and writing a post to ask if anyone would like to split driving duties. If you’re the one throwing the party, you can make an event on Facebook and encourage your guests to share rides as well.

Another option is to use mass transit for at least part of your journey. See which train station is closest to your destination and get a ride from there to the event. Not only will this help improve the air quality, but instead of being caught in stressful holiday traffic, you can relax and leave the driving to someone else.

As always, if you have to drive, make sure you avoid idling and topping off your tank. Stop at the “click” to prevent gasoline fumes from escaping into the atmosphere.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

American Lung Association 2011 State of the Air Report Summary

The American Lung Association (ALA) releases a report every year called the State of the Air Report, which collects air quality data from across the country and breaks down the important trends. You can read the entire ALA 2011 State of the Air Report online, but here are some of the key findings:
  • The strongest improvement came in reducing ozone smog levels across the nation. More than half of the country’s most smog-polluted cities (including New York) experienced their best year yet. All metro areas in the 25 cities listed as most polluted by ozone showed improvement over last year’s report.
  • All but two of the 25 cities listed as most polluted by year-round levels of particle pollution (sometimes called soot) improved over last year’s report. Nineteen of those cities (including New York) reported their best-ever particle pollution levels.
  • Out of 277 metropolitan areas New York ranked:
    • 17th for high ozone days
    • 33rd for 24-hour particle pollution
    • 21st for annual particle pollution

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cleaning the Air for Dad

With Father’s Day arriving soon, we wanted to give you some ideas for gifts and activities you can do with your dad that will also improve air quality.

For gift ideas, here are a few suggestions if your dad’s a car guy: Get him a new air filter, oil filter and partially recycled oil. A well-maintained vehicle produces far fewer emissions. If you want to do even more, offer to install everything for him and pump up his tires while you’re at it! If he loves to be outdoors, get him a new pair of active footwear. Whether you run, hike or rollerblade together, you’ll both need the proper gear. This gift provides more benefits, good health as the two of you stay in shape and cleaner air for all as you reduce your carbon footprint together.

Another activity to share on Father’s Day or at any time when you’re out: If a mall or entertainment venue appears really crowded, don’t drive around in circles looking for a closer space. If you park your car at the first open spot and walk, you will cut down on extra driving and it probably won’t take you any longer to get inside. Finally, take a bike trip across some of New York’s beautiful bike trails. Use 511NY to search for bicycle routes by geographic location, and enjoy our gorgeous state of New York!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Clean Air NY Champions Recognized During Earth Month

Champion Ad

Clean Air NY honored local businesses last month at the Brooklyn Business Expo, Expos Your Business Long Island and IBM Poughkeepsie’s Earth Day Event. The 10 downstate Clean Air NY Champions were chosen for their commitment to improving air quality by reducing employees’ car trips. Automobile exhaust is a major contributor to ozone and particle pollution.

The awards ceremonies were conducted throughout Earth Month. Clean Air NY’s message to all employers was to encourage action against poor air quality in New York. According to the American Lung Association, 65 percent of New York State residents live in counties where air pollution levels can endanger lives.

Organizations recognized as Clean Air NY Champions include:
  • The College of Staten Island (CSI) - For a free carpool matching service for students, faculty and staff, offering a free shuttle bus and pre-tax transit benefits to employees.
  • Emmis Communications - For promoting its commuter tax benefit and planning a carpool matching system for its employees.
  • Grand Hyatt, New York - For installing bike racks that encouraged more than 20 employees to bike to work.
  • The Hagedorn Little Village School - For providing e-mail addresses to employees who were interested in registering for an incentive-based ridematching network.
  • Helios Energy Systems - For implementing a carpool program in which 20 percent of its employees have agreed to participate at least twice a week.
  • IBM Poughkeepsie - For promoting alternate commuting options for all site employees including: IBMRide, an internal car/vanpool matching service that includes preferred parking and emergency ride home services for those who participate and a work-at-home employee program.
  • The New York Power Authority (NYPA) - For implementing a flex-time schedule for a compressed workweek and offering preferred parking to electric-vehicle and vanpool drivers.
  • Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Center - For installing a shower and covered bike racks that encourage employees to bike to work instead of driving vehicles.
  • Underwriters Laboratory - For providing lunch on Air Quality Action Days and offering incentives for employees to carpool, take the bus or bike to work.
  • Voila Bakeries - For promoting its commuter tax benefit to all employees.