DHEC higlights air quality during National Air Quality Awareness week

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 1:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is highlighting that May 1-5 is National Air Quality Awareness Week.

Officials say South Carolina currently meets all National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for all six principal pollutants: particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead.

“Not only does South Carolina have clean air, but our state’s air quality has been improving over the years,” said Rhonda Thompson, director of DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality. “This is in large part due to the support we receive from local air quality coalitions, industries, schools, local governments and other stakeholders for continually wanting to improve South Carolina’s clean air.”

“Another important focus of National Air Quality Awareness Week is to remind that public that there are several actions we all can incorporate into our daily routines to help protect our air,” said Thompson, who also serves as secretary/treasurer of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies.

Efforts to help keep the air clean include:

  • Using electric-powered lawn equipment. Gasoline-powered lawn equipment emits airborne pollutants. According to the California Air Resources Board, one hour of mowing generates the same pollution as driving a car for 300 miles.
  • Maintaining your vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle can reduce harmful emissions and improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.
  • Combining trips and errands and shopping local. With a little planning, you can lower your vehicle miles traveled, save time and money and reduce emissions.
  • Parking instead of waiting in line at drive-throughs to reduce idling time. Idling wastes gas, emits harmful emissions and can have a negative effect on the life of your engine.
  • Knowing the Air Quality Forecast and planning your activities accordingly. Air pollutants such as ground-level ozone and particulate pollution can cause breathing problems such as triggering asthma attacks, reduced lung function and shortness of breath.
  • Allowing employees to telecommute or work a flex schedule if possible, as this reduces the number of vehicles on the road.

Historic and current air quality data collected by DHEC is available at AirNow.gov.

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