Drive less to show your love for the air this Valentine’s Day

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Pima County Motor Vehicle Emission

PIMA COUNTY, Feb. 12, 2021 – Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to remember there is much to love about air in Pima County.

Most days in 2020 were “good” air quality days as measured by Pima County Department of Environmental Quality air quality monitors in addition to the AirNow Air Quality Index. There are many ways people can help keep and maintain our “good” air quality.

Ways to Reduce Motor Vehicle Emissions

Because about half the pollution emitted into Pima County’s air comes from motor vehicle emissions, consider the following ways to reduce driving.

  • Ride a bike. There are more than 1,000 miles of bike paths in the Metropolitan Tucson area, including the Chuck Huckelberry Loop. The Loop provides access to parks, trailheads, bus and bike routes, workplaces, restaurants, schools, shopping areas, hotels, as well as entertainment venues;
  • Walk if your destination is near and the route safe;
  • Take transit. Note: during the COVID-19 pandemic, masks covering the nose and mouth are required and passengers must keep six feet distance from other passengers when possible. Fares continue to be free at least through June 30. See Sun Tran’s website for information.
  • Carpool safely with the same people, preferably within the same household;
  • Telework if possible; and/or
  • Skip trips by phoning ahead to see if the store is open or has the items you wish to purchase.

In addition, benefits to these actions include money savings, stress reduction, improved fitness, reduced traffic congestion, increased opportunities for social interaction, and more enjoyable travel time.

When air quality reaches the “moderate” or “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range, some people may begin feeling health effects of breathing air pollution. Irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, coughing, trouble breathing, heart attacks, and premature death are among the many health effects from breathing air pollution. Certain vulnerable populations are especially affected, including:

  • Children, who’s bodies are still developing;
  • Older adults, who’s immune systems may be compromised;
  • People who already have lung and heart disease such as asthma or COPD;
  • People who may be battling or recovering from disease that affects the respiratory system, such as COVID-19; and
  • Outdoor workers and those who exercise vigorously outdoors in high traffic areas.

Watch the “Love the Air” video for more ideas on driving less and driving smarter. Take the Drive Less Pledge and earn a chance to win a $100 gift card. For more information about ways to help reduce air pollution, visit the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s website.


Karen Wilhelmsen
(520) 724-7449 
(520) 273-9898 (c)

Southern Arizona Environmental Management Society

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