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In the News

National Air Quality Awareness Week, April 28-May 2: Help curb pollution as smog season arrives

Friday, April 25, 2014

As the season for increased ozone pollution settles in through early fall, the Capital Area Council of Governments, participants in the region’s Ozone Advance Program Action Plan and others around the country are promoting National Air Quality Awareness Week, April 28 to May 2, reminding folks to pitch in to keep pollution at bay.
 
“Whether carpooling, commuting by bike once a week, avoiding energy usage at peak times or taking other important steps to reduce ozone, all residents and businesses can make a difference,” said Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, who chairs the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition. “Staying in attainment of federal air quality standards is important to protecting the health and the economy of Central Texas, so National Air Quality Awareness Week offers a timely opportunity for public outreach, education and engagement.”

> Discover the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition (CAC)
 
Ozone pollution results when emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from sources such as vehicles, power plants, factories, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents react in the presence of sunlight. Ground-level ozone can cause health problems, especially among more vulnerable populations such as children, older adults and people with lung diseases. Ozone pollution also affects animals and the environment.

The Central Texas Clean Air Coalition, a regional collaboration of 11 cities and all five county governments in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties in partnership with CAPCOG, recently won a 2014 Clean Air Excellence Award for its innovative work to help decrease area emissions, but the work to reduce pollution continues.

> Get the details on CAC's 2014 EPA Clean Air Excellence Award  

CAPCOG’s ozone-monitoring network – a system of eight stations in Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties – is collecting data to help support regional air quality research and planning initiatives.

Other participants in the Ozone Advance Program Action Plan include CAPCOG, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Capital Metro, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas, the Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Lehigh Cement Company and the Texas Nursery and Landscaping Association.
 
Here’s how residents and businesses across Central Texas can “Be Air Aware”:

  • Drive less – Avoid unnecessary driving by bringing your lunch to work, combining errands, carpooling and trying out transportation alternatives such as walking and cycling.
  • Drive clean – Avoid driving during peak congestion times, make sure to properly maintain your vehicle, avoid idling and use the lowest-emission vehicle available when necessary to drive. 
  • Conserve – Reduce electricity consumption, water consumption and natural gas consumption.
  • Know before you go – Before going out, know what the ozone forecast is for the day by signing up for ozone notifications or downloading the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency's AirNow app.
  • Learn more – Explore additional air quality resources at  CAPCOG's Air Quality Program page.

> Download the AirNow mobile app
 
CAPCOG, one of 24 regional planning commissions organized under state law, administers programs on several regional issues including air quality. The agency established its Air Quality Program in 2002 to coordinate regional planning efforts and receives a recurring grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to assist areas at risk of violating federal pollution standards.
 
The Clean Air Coalition comprises elected officials from the five-county Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area who represent governmental parties to the Central Texas Ozone Advance Program Action Plan, the region’s voluntary ozone management plan.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Air Quality Program

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