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Clean Air Starts at Home

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Routine activities such as mowing the lawn and disposing of trash can create air pollution. Below are some actions you can take to reduce air pollution, at home and on the go. Everyone can be a part of the solution to air pollution. Here's how you can help to keep our air clean:

Fuel Use at Home

  • Problem: Each year, fuel is spilled while refueling lawn and garden equipment, evaporating into the air and tainting soil and groundwater.
  • Action: Be careful when refueling. Fill tanks over concrete and other hard surfaces when possible. Prevent spills by using a funnel or a spill-proof spout, and don't overfill.
  • Problem: Vapor escaping from gas cans creates tons of air pollution per day, including benzene, and ozone that makes asthma symptoms and smog worse.
  • Action: Buy a new gas can that seals automatically when the spout isn't being used. The seal keeps the gas and vapors in the can where they belong.

Vehicles & Engines at Home

  • Problem: Small gas engines - like the engine in your mower, handheld leaf-blower, and chainsaw - put out exhaust, just like cars do. Unlike cars, these small engines don't have pollution controls on them.
  • Action: Use hand tools or electric equipment for lawn and garden work when appropriate.
  • Problem: About half the cars on the road today have under-inflated tires. In a year, under-inflation wastes 2 billion gallons of gasoline and adds up to 40 billion pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
  • Action: Check your tire pressure regularly to increase the fuel economy of your vehicle.

Burning at Home - Dos & Don'ts

  • Don't burn wet wood or household trash in your outdoor wood boiler or wood-fueled furnace. Smoke and soot from inappropriate or illegal fuels can sicken your family and neighbors.
  • Do burn only clean, dry, untreated wood to reduce air pollution in your neighborhood.
  • Don't leave your campfire, or any fire, unattended. Any outdoor fire that isn't carefully made and watched can cause dangerous wildfires and polluting smoke.
  • Do read and follow DEC guidelines for campfire safety.
  • Don't burn household waste in a burn barrel or pile. Burning trash creates dangerous air pollution that harms people and animals when they breathe it in.
  • Do safely dispose of your household trash by hiring a sanitation service, by using your municipality's sanitation service, or by taking waste to your local transfer station or landfill.

Teaching Children About Air Pollution

Everyday activities at home and on the go can lead to conversation with children about air pollution. DEC has online air pollution information written just for kids, and sends out the Conservationist for Kids magazine. Other resources help parents and educators teach children how dirty air affects their health and the health of the planet, and how they can help clean the air. People of all ages are part of the solution to air pollution.


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