Pittsburgh air quality receives ‘F’ grade: What you can do about it

Pittsburgh’s air quality has ranked among the worse in the country for years. Just recently the American Lung Association released its State of the Air report, giving the Pittsburgh region a ‘F’ grade.

The poor air quality in the City has not been without consequence — research has shown Pittsburgh’s childhood asthma rates are ‘alarmingly high’. Researchers also have concluded reducing air pollutants would reduce our risk of cancer.

So, what can we do to help? Below I listed some steps you can take as individuals.

Use less energy

It’s easy to forget that most activities we do throughout the day leave an energy footprint. These activities range from cooling our homes to driving, to work, to cutting our lawns. Some tips from the EPA are as follows:

  • “Follow gasoline refueling instructions for efficient vapor recovery, being careful not to spill fuel and always tightening your gas cap securely.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying home or office equipment.
  • Consider purchasing portable gasoline containers labeled “spill-proof,” where available.
  • Conserve electricity and set air conditioners no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Keep car, boat, and other engines properly tuned.
  • Defer lawn and gardening chores that use gasoline-powered equipment, or wait until evening
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated.”

Click here for the EPA’s full list

Plant A Tree

Trees can play many roles in reducing pollution. A report by the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has shown the particle matter near trees was reduced between seven percent to 24 percent. It was also reported that trees cooled the temperature by up to 3.6 degree Fahrenheit., which can lead to people using less energy to cool their homes.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Plant A Tree program allows for you to donate trees throughout the city parks. There are many options to fit a variety of budgets.

One could also get involved with Tree Pittsburgh . Tree Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to enhancing the City’s vitality by restoring and protecting the urban forest through tree maintenance, planting, education and advocacy”. There are many ways to give.

Contact Your Local Representatives

It is the jobs of the our representatives to, well, represent us. They awrite and shape the policies that effect our lives. The policies of our city and state play a significant role on the air we breathe. Below is how you can find representative and contact them to let them know your concerns about the air quality.

City Council

Locate your City Council District

Contact your Councilperson

State Congress

Find your local Congressperson

State Senate

Find your local Legislator

The time to act is now — we cannot continue to wait for someone else to fix the problems of our community and city. These are only few things you can do, there are many resources and ideas out there to be discovered, but it’s a start.

Sunday Assembly Pittsburgh is a secular community that celebrates life. Visit the events page to see what’s happening in the community: Events

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