Air Quality

Air Aware TipMay is Bike Month

Remember your first bike ride? The freedom, the fresh air, the cards in the spokes going “thwak, thwak, thwak?” Consider riding your bike again! Bicycles are clean-air, zero-emission vehicles for quick trips or daily commutes. May is Bike Month, which makes it the perfect opportunity for you to hop on the saddle again. Most trips Americans take are short – usually less than 3 miles – and many people could easily make these trips by bicycle.

This month, take the opportunity to celebrate the power of the bicycle and rediscover the many reasons to ride. Already riding your bicycle all over town? Well then, encourage more folks to give it a try. Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment; or cruise to explore your community, it all adds up to cleaner air!

The City of Round Rock is committed to participating in air quality initiatives.  Ground-level ozone is the area’s number one air quality issue.  Ozone forms in the sun, is worse in the afternoon and early evening and is usually more prominent on hot summer days.  Ground-level ozone can affect anyone, but children and persons with a compromised respiratory system are especially vulnerable.

To learn more about our regional air quality, what you can do to reduce emissions and exposure to air pollution please visit www.AirCentralTexas.org.

Air Quality IndexWho Needs to be Concerned?What Should I do?
Good (0-50)It’s a great day to be active outside.
Moderate (51-100)Some people who may be unusually sensitive to ozoneUnusually sensitive people: Consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.  Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.  These are signs to take it a little easier.Everyone else: It is a good day to be active outside.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (101-150)Sensitive groups include people with lung disease such as asthma, older adults, children and teenagers, and people who are active outdoors.Sensitive groups: Reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.  Take more breaks, do less intense activities.  Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.  Schedule outdoor activities in the morning when ozone is lower.People with asthma: Follow your asthma action plan and keep quick relief medicine handy.
Unhealthy (151-200)EveryoneSensitive groups: Avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. Schedule outdoor activities in the morning when ozone is lower. Consider moving activities indoors.People with asthma: Keep quick-relief medicine handy.Everyone else: Reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. Take more breaks, do less intense activities. Schedule outdoor activities in the morning when ozone is lower.
Very Unhealthy (201-300)EveryoneSensitive groups: Avoid all physical activity outdoors. Move activities indoors or reschedule to a time when air quality is better.People with asthma: Keep quick-relief medicine handy.Everyone else: Avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. Schedule outdoor activities in the morning when ozone is lower. Consider moving activities indoors.
Hazardous (301-500)EveryoneEveryone: Avoid all physical activity outdoors.

Source: Air Now, http://www.airnow.gov

 

Citizens are encouraged to take voluntary actions to reduce emissions and exposure to high ozone levels when they occur.  Here are some ways you can help:

 
  • Drive less. Use public transportation, walk, or ride your bike. Just spend less time in your car.
  • Carpool.
  • Drive a “greener” vehicle. When it’s time to buy a car, look for high gas mileage…or an alternative fuel.
  • Pick up a friend. Pick up your friends when heading to the movies or a night on the town. Sharing the trip saves gas, and makes parking easier.
  • Don’t idle. Skip the drive-thru and don’t leave the engine running while you run in a store or wait for a passenger.
  • Refuel after 6pm. Vapors from gasoline escape when you refill your tank. Fueling in the evening prevents those vapors from “cooking” all day long.
  • Tune up your car. Proper maintenance can increase gas mileage and reduce pollution.
  • Combine or put off errands. Make lists and plan errands efficiently to avoid extra driving and save time. If you can, delay your driving errands until the ozone is less severe.
  • Stay & play in your neighborhood. Instead of driving, shop locally, take walks, and reconnect with your neighborhood.
  • Walk or jog. Instead of driving to the gym, try getting your exercise the old-fashioned way.
  • Bring your lunch. Don’t drive, pack! Or carpool to lunch with co-workers, or walk to a nearby eatery.
  • Save energy. Most energy is produced by burning fossil fuels, so more energy equals more pollution.
  • Use less water. It takes energy to pump and treat water, so using less water reduces energy waste and pollution.
  • Recycle and reuse. Find new uses for old materials and reduce the demand for high-polluting factory processes by recycling as much as possible.
  • Use low-VOC paints. Cut down on fumes with low-VOC paints, and use brushes or rollers instead of spray equipment.
  • Turn off your monitor. Computer monitors are energy hogs. Upgrade to a more efficient model, or turn the monitor off while away from your desk.
 
Caren Lee
2008 Enterprise Drive
Round Rock, Texas 78664
512-671-2869