The Hacienda Owners Association is a proud supporter of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's 2000 Spare the Air program. Founded in 1991, this important advisory alerts Bay Area residents about how their efforts to reduce air pollution can make a substantial difference in day-to-day regional air quality.
"Last year participants made 140,000 fewer trips per Spare the Air day, which resulted in a six-ton reduction in pollution each day," says Teresa Lee, BAAQMD spokesperson. "The goal of the 2000 program is to increase the emission reductions to eight tons per episode, so we need everyone's help."
A key component of the program is notifying Bay Area residents and workers in advance when atmospheric conditions are prevalent which could create a significant amount of ground-level ozone, which is created when nitrogen oxides mix with volatile organic chemicals such as those from petroleum products and "cook" in the afternoon sun.
One effective way to Spare the Air is to use an alternative commute mode: BART, the ACE train, buses, carpools, and vanpools. Fortunately, there are a number of commuting resources available, such as RIDES for Bay Area Commuters and TravInfo, which make finding alternatives easy. Since vehicle exhaust is the largest component of pollution, using an alternative commute is the easiest way to Spare the Air.
There are several ways to find out about Spare the Air days. Perhaps the simplest is to go to sparetheair.org and sign up to receive e-mail notification at your computer.
You'll be notified of Spare the Air days when air quality forecasts indicate ozone concentrations for the next day will violate federal health standards. Normally, these advisories are released a few minutes past 1:00 p.m. On average, Spare the Air Advisories are issued around 20 times during the "ozone season," from June 12 to October 15.
There are other ways to contribute as well. Gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers can be left in the garage and using consumer spray products like hairspray and household cleaners can be left for another day. Starting barbecues without lighter fluid and refueling cars after sundown also help to reduce air pollution.
For more information about Spare the Air, visit sparetheair.org. RIDES is online at www.rides.org and available at (800) 755-POOL. TravInfo, which offers realtime traffic information and other commute tools, is available at 817-1717.
The Hacienda Owners Association may be reached at (925) 734-6500.
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