July 09, 2013

6 Smart Steps To Good Air Quality

Missy Diaz
Guest Blogger


Are you interested in improving the air quality of your community? As knowledge and understanding of the dangers of poor air quality expand, many individuals and communities are increasing their efforts to improve their own environment. Some of the changes being made require the involvement of many people and other changes can be tackled by one devoted individual.

If you are one of those individuals, then you might be interested in some of the following steps that you could take to improve the quality of air for your community, your family, and your own health.

1 - Reduce Your Carbon Dioxide Output

There are a number of different ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that you send into the air. Consider replacing your old car with a fuel-efficient model next time around. Find out about the different recycling programs in your area and begin to take advantage of them. Increase your temperature settings in the summer by a couple of degrees and reduce them similarly in the winter. Consider carpooling, walking, or biking to work and to complete errands. Each of these simple actions, and others, can help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in your environment.

When you choose to share what you have learned with your neighbors and coworkers, you’ll find that your impact will grow rapidly.

2 – Learn to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions

Although nitrous oxide is much more potent than carbon dioxide it has received little attention in comparison. About a third of the nitrous oxide emissions occur because of human activities and a large portion of those are the result of agricultural sources, such as

      The burning of organic matter
      Fertilizers
      Livestock urine and manure

Some of the efforts being made throughout the agricultural community to reduce nitrous oxide emissions include crop rotation, new sowing and irrigation techniques, and carefully monitored fertilizer use.

3 – Promote the Idea That Your Community Is a Green Community

An interesting study performed in Freiburg, Germany found that new residents to the community adopted environmentally friendly habits which were being promoted. Basically, the respondents to the study showed a decrease in behaviors that weren’t supported, and a coordinating increase in the behaviors that were supported. Simply by creating a “cleaner air” reputation for your community with an emphasis on clean air habits, you’ll be able to influence positive changes around you.

A similar study conducted in the United States concluded that as communities and individuals learn more about the environment, they are more likely to develop environmentally friendly habits.

4 – Plant a Tree

Trees provide a lot of great benefits. One of these is that they breathe in carbon dioxide, exchanging it for clean oxygen. They also work to reduce the levels of ground level ozone, store water, and reduce noise pollution. When trees provide shade to the ground underneath them, they also decrease urban heat. When you plant a tree in position to shade your windows, you’ll be able to reduce your cooling costs and energy use during the summer.

5 – Choose Greener Products

Many of the pesticides, detergents, and paints we use every day contribute to the amount of particulates in the air. By choosing greener products or natural alternatives, you can improve the air quality in your community. For example, instead of using pesticides in your garden, choose to plant pest-repelling plants next to your vegetables or cover your plants with insect netting. Compost with leaves and trimmings from your garden. Look for exterior paints with low VOC levels.

6 – Take Care When You Burn

Many homeowners enjoy the soothing flicker of an evening fire in a backyard fireplace, but some of the things that you burn can lead to outdoor air pollution. Choose your fuel for these peaceful evenings with a focus on clean burning.

It is also a good idea to avoid burning garbage. It may seem like an economic way to dispose of unwanted cardboard, plastic, and Styrofoam, but all of those things will release harmful particles into the air. Other harmful materials to burn include painted wood, wrapping paper, and particle board.

Lead the Way to Cleaner Air Quality

The next time you consider decreasing your carbon footprint, remember that every step you take to improve the air quality in your community can have far reaching effects. As you set an example for your neighbors and co workers, sharing the information and lessons that you have learned, those people will be more likely to incorporate healthier habits in their lives – further influencing their neighbors and coworkers in turn.
Honey bees fanning at the hive entrance.

Missy Diaz is an eco friendly and green blogger that writes for Rabbit Air - purveyors of fine products that improve air quality. You can follow Missy on Twitter for her various articles and tips.

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