Air Quality Action Days
Air Quality Action Days are days when air quality is predicted to be in an unhealthy range for sensitive groups. It's a day that's all about making smart choices.
It’s a day when driving alone should be avoided, as it may be one of the most polluting activities that people do on an air quality action day. There are many alternatives to driving alone.
It's a day when you choose to go into a restaurant rather than wait at the drive-through to avoid car idling, or even to bring your lunch to work so you don't have to make an extra trip.
It's a day when you choose not to fill up your gas tank during the day, and instead, fill up in the evening or when the sun goes down.
Air Quality Action Days typically are forecast a day prior to the actual day. We'll let you know about an upcoming Air Quality Action Day through an Action Day Bulletin. The bulletin will arrive via e-mail, or text, and will provide you with information on how to improve air quality and to avoid air pollution effects on the Action Day.
Help Reduce Air Pollution with 511NY!
One objective of 511NY is to educate New Yorkers about how they can improve our air quality. Nearly one-third of all air pollution in the New York metropolitan region is caused by vehicle travel, so taking alternative forms of transportation, such as mass transit, can make a big difference. 511NY's network of individuals and businesses believes that every person has the power to help make New York's air healthier and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
511NY educates the public on simple everyday changes that reduce driving and provides real-time updates on Air Quality Action Days via text messaging, e-mail and media notifications.
Each year, mass transit reduces carbon dioxide emissions by roughly the same amount as if electricity was turned off to half the houses in New York State! Other actions that can help clean the air are combining multiple errands into one trip and carpooling. More ideas can be found on the "Do Your Part" page!
Do Your Part
Everyday choices make a difference! Whether it’s choosing to carpool to work instead of driving alone, or simply avoiding idling your car, 511NY believes that all New Yorkers can contribute to helping clean our air. And you might even save money in the process!
Here are some simple steps to achieve cleaner air:
- Combine Trips. This is one of the easiest choices and can save time while you are improving the air. Instead of going home after work and then back out to the gym or to the grocery store, plan ahead and combine your errands into one trip, even on the weekends.
- Bike, Walk or Use Public Transit. Forgoing your car just one day a week for a year could save about 1,000 miles on the vehicle and $500 in total driving costs. Just think of what you could do with that extra money, not to mention the health benefits of walking or biking.
- Share a Ride. Whenever possible, share a ride by carpooling or vanpooling to your destination. You’ll reduce emissions by 50% or more, while also saving 50% or more on your commuting costs. We’ll even help you find a carpool or vanpool partner!
- Maintain Your Car. Always keep your car in tune and the tires properly inflated. A well-maintained vehicle produces 20 percent less ozone-related emissions, saves money on gas, and means less traffic congestion due to breakdowns. Properly inflated tires can save you up to 18 gallons of gas per year.
- Avoid Topping Off Your Tank. Topping off the tank can cause excess pressure in the system which could damage your vehicle’s evaporative system or cause a hazardous leak. When the gas pump stops, your tank is full.
- Cut Back On Idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Save money and reduce emissions by avoiding idling whenever possible. For example, go into a fast-food restaurant to pick up food rather than waiting in the drive-through lane.
- Don't Be So Cool. A lower air conditioning temperature uses more energy and costs more. At home, set your air conditioner to 78 degrees. Closing drapes, blinds or shades during the day can also help to keep the house cool.
- Use Safe Products. Read product labels and be sure to purchase and use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible. This limits the amount of unhealthy vapor in the air.
- Spread the Word. The more people who know about 511NY's clean air program, the more steps will be taken to improve air quality and the health of all New Yorkers.