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Tips to reduce pollution, have cleaner air

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Photo Courtesy: tceq.texas.gov
Photo Courtesy: tceq.texas.gov

We mark the start of autumn this month, dreaming of days with cleaner, clearer skies, less humidity, cooler climes and fresher air.

This is also Pollution Prevention Week. Pollution prevention is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source.

Here are some tips to stop pollution at its source from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality:

  • Turn off the lights and use energy-saving light bulbs: Lighting accounts for 12 percent of a household’s annual electric bill. Replacing 15 incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs could save you about $50 per year.
  • Reduce standby power: The power consumed by products when switched off or in a standby mode is called standby power. It accounts for 5 to 10 percent of residential energy use, costing up to $180 per year. Unplug or turn electronics off at a power strip to eliminate this wasted energy.
  • Buy locally: Buying locally grown food supports the local economy, reduces emissions from refrigeration and transportation, and cuts back on packing materials. Buy Texas organic products that are produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
  • Use less toxic cleaning products: Using less toxic cleaning products can reduce pollutants in both the air and water, and may help improve the air quality in your house.
  • Use less pesticides and fertilizers: Apply pesticides and fertilizers according to the label’s directions, and only use the recommended amount. Excessive watering or a rainstorm can wash away the chemical excess—wasting your money and endangering nearby waterways.
  • Drive less: To reduce air emissions, take your lunch to the office, carpool, use public transit or combine errands. Removing one properly maintained car from the road for one year saves an average of 17 pounds of nitrogen oxides from being discharged into the air.
  • Take care of your tires: Over 3 million tires were sent to Texas landfills last year. Test your tire tread monthly. Insert a penny upside down. Your tread is too low when you can see the top of Lincoln’s head.For more tips like these, visit TakeCareOfTexas.org.
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