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Fine Particle Reduction

There are a number of actions that individual Iowans, communities, and companies can take to help reduce the amount of fine particles in our environment. Reducing fine particles can help:

  • Keep our air clean and reduce the number and severity of health related impacts.
  • Keep our communities vibrant and growing by preventing “nonattainment” declarations and the stigma and growth limitations that accompany it.

The following sections suggest measures and strategies that individuals, local organizations, and business and industry can employ to help reduce PM2.5 concentrations locally and for neighbors living downwind.

  • Maintain your vehicle
    Regular maintenance and tune-ups, changing the oil, and keeping tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage, extend your car’s life, and increase its resale value. It can also reduce traffic congestion due to preventable breakdowns and reduce your car’s emissions by more than half.

  • Slow down
    Gas mileage drops rapidly above 60 mph. The www.fueleconomy.gov website shows how driving speed affects gas mileage. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

  • Do more on one trip
    Combine your errands into one trip. It helps you get things done efficiently while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. Starting a car after it has been sitting for more than an hour causes up to five times more pollution than starting up when the engine is warm.

  • Take the bus or carpool
    Even if you do it just once or twice a week, you’ll reduce traffic congestion and pollution and save money. The average driver spends more than 50 cents per mile, including the cost of car ownership and maintenance.

  • Ride your bike or walk
    It’s a great way to travel and it can help you and the air get into better condition.

  • Telecommute
    Working at home will save time, money, reduce emissions, and traffic congestion.

  • Get an energy audit
    A home energy audit is often the first step in making your home more efficient. Conduct an audit to see what steps you can do to savings energy and reduce heating and cooling bills. For more information, visit the Energy Star website.

  • Replace inefficient wood burning stoves
    EPA certified wood stoves burn more cleanly and efficiently, save money, reduce the risk of fire, and improve air quality inside and outside your home. More information is at www.epa.gov/woodstoves/.

Opportunities abound for communities to help address existing and future air quality issues. Working to replace aging diesel fleets with new school buses, road maintenance vehicles, and higher fuel efficient biofuel or hybrid powered vehicles can have a significant impact on air quality. Providing incentives for greater use of mass transit, helping minimize open-burning and vehicle idling, and addressing community specific areas of concern can help maintain good air quality. Developing community-based plans for sustainable growth that consider air quality impacts will help assure appropriate air resource planning. The Iowa DNR, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, has published Community Land-Use Planning for Air Quality as a guide for planning officials to accomplish air pollution reduction and protect citizens from unnecessary exposures.

Here are excellent examples of communities that have formed these groups:

Proactive steps can help promote good air quality, support community efforts, and save on energy costs. By developing mass-transit and carpooling incentives, providing employee education, developing specific operational plans for poor air quality days, managing fleets for best economy and fewer emissions, establishing idling limits appropriate to equipment use, and managing energy consumption to consider air quality and efficiency are just some of the ways business and industries can help. Consider joining the Blue Skyways Collaborative or other organizations that develop and support clean air practices.

  • Control Emissions
    The National Association of Clean Air Agencies developed a menu of options for controlling PM2.5. Sectors highlighted include electrical generation units, industrial and commercial boilers, cement manufacturing, iron and steel, and diesel engines.

  • Control or prevent fugitive emissions

  • Utilize renewable energy sources and energy-efficient power generation

  • Promote and encourage public transportation, carpooling, and/or telecommuting
    Provide reduced or free bus passes to employees. Create a carpooling forum so co-workers can efficiently find interested parties. Offer a telecommuting option to save time and money.

  • Explore retrofits for diesel vehicles, replacing inefficient diesel engines, and replacing old diesel vehicles
    EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign seeks to reduce diesel emissions from on-road and non-road vehicles.

  • Maintain fleet vehicles
    Regular maintenance and tune-ups, changing the oil, and keeping tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage, extend your car’s life, and increase its resale value. It can also reduce traffic congestion due to preventable breakdowns and reduce your car’s emissions by more than half.

  • Slow down
    Gas mileage drops rapidly above 60 mph. The fueleconomy.gov website shows how driving speed affects gas mileage. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.


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