Preventing air pollution means reducing harmful emissions at the source before they are released into the atmosphere. Following are ways citizens can help prevent air pollution and improve air quality every day, at home, work, and on the go.
- Consider carpooling or use public transportation instead of a commuting alone. Work from home if your employer provides the option.
- When planning errands and activities, group them into one trip instead of driving home between each one. Avoid rush hour if you can.
- Walk or ride a bike to your destination instead of driving, when possible.
- To maximize your car’s fuel efficiency, properly inflate the tires to the correct pressure levels and keep the engine tuned. Avoid jack rabbit starts and observe the speed limit to protect air quality and save fuel.
- While waiting in drive-thru lanes or when picking up children at school, turn off the engine to reduce emissions. Idling your car for just 30 seconds uses more fuel than stopping and starting your engine.
- Use “low volatile organic compound (VOC)” or “zero VOC” paint for home projects. Choose low and zero VOC cleaning products.
- Reduce energy consumption by turning off lights, televisions, and appliances when not in use, to reduce emissions from energy production. Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer. Insulate homes and offices as best you can. Use energy efficient lighting and appliances, such as those with the ENERGY STAR® label.
- Use battery or electric power trimmers, pruners, and lawn mowers as an alternative to gasoline-powered equipment.
- Although rules may allow the open burning of clean vegetation and wood waste with certain restrictions, residential open burning is never advised. Consider safer alternatives such as mulching or composting to manage leaves and other yard waste. Never open burn trash--it is illegal.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle to reduce emissions related to the manufacture of paper, plastic, glass bottles, aluminum cans, and cardboard.
- During ozone season (March 1 to October 31), refuel vehicles and gasoline-powered equipment after 7:00 PM. when sunlight is less intense, and temperatures are cooler. Postpone using gasoline-powered trimmers and lawn mowers until after 7:00 PM.
- The Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM’s) DieselWise program provides funding to schools, municipal, public, and private sector entities for voluntary projects to reduce harmful tailpipe emissions from diesel-powered vehicles.
- The Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund provides grant opportunities for projects that repower or replace eligible diesel-powered vehicles with new diesel, alternative fuel, or all-electric engines or vehicles.
- Northwest Indiana’s Partners for Clean Air is a coalition of Northwest Indiana businesses, industries, local governments, and community groups that are committed to improving air quality and public health through voluntary actions.
- The Pollution Prevention section within IDEM’s Office of Program Support (OPS) manages pollution prevention grants and partnership and recognition programs, and works to promote pollution prevention (P2) for Indiana businesses.
- Recycle Indiana within OPS promotes recycling and provides technical assistance to individuals, businesses, solid waste management districts, schools, municipalities, and other organizations.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention (P2) website provides additional resources and information.