What can I do?
Here you will find:
Although it may seem as though air pollution is too big a problem for one person to
make much of a difference, collectively we can have a big impact.
Save it for a windy day
Pay attention to weather conditions. Our air can become unhealthy when we don't have
enough breeze to disperse the daily pollution we create with activities like driving,
heating with wood or burning yard waste. Since the weather can't cooperate with our desire
to have clean air every day, we need to find ways to do it ourselves.
What can I do in winter?
Listen to weather reports. Inversions of more than a day or two in winter are a warning
sign that air pollution levels are rising. Cold, still air traps pollution close to the
You should try:
- Replacing pre-1988 uncertified wood stoves with cleaner, more efficient EPA-certified
wood or pellet stoves. Natural gas and propane are even better.
- Burning compressed sawdust logs or pellets.
- Drying your firewood at least six months before using it.
What can I do in summer?
Inversions in summer, coupled with temperatures in the 90s, can raise pollution to
unhealthy levels. Especially when temperatures soar, you should consider doing things
You should try:
- Refueling during cooler evening hours.
- Making sure your gas cap seals properly.
- Waiting until temperatures decrease and breezes pick up before mowing the lawn or using
gas-powered garden equipment.
- Using non-gasoline recreational equipment, like a sailboat instead of a motorboat, on
really hot days.
What can I do in every season?
- Carpooling, taking transit, walking, biking, skating or telecommuting.
- "Triplinking" or combining quick errands so you reduce the time you are on the
- Warming up your car by driving slowly for a few minutes rather than letting it idle.
- Driving your newest vehicle
- Keeping your vehicle tuned up, especially the emission-control equipment.
- Replacing your vehicle's air filters regularly.
- Shopping through mail order catalogues.
- Mulching, chipping or composting yard waste.
Some things to keep in mind
- Cars & trucks are the main culprits of smog and carbon monoxide pollution in our
- Smoke from wood fires produces the majority of particulate air pollution in our region.
- A cold engine produces more than twice as much pollution as a warm one.
- Idling produces twice as much pollution as stopping your your engine and restarting it
while it's still warm.
- New cars use less fuel and produce much less pollution than older cars.
- Mowing for one hour with a gas-powered lawn mower creates as much pollution as driving
from the Kingdome to the Tacoma Dome and back.
Read the newspapers for information about air quality and check the daily pollutant standard index often. You can find the latest
index readings on this website, by looking in Puget Sound area newspapers or by calling
Updated July 20, 1999
Clean Air Agency