Reducing Air Pollution in North-Central Colorado: What Citizens Can Do

Protecting the health and well-being of Coloradans is of utmost importance, and one way to do this is by enforcing state air pollution laws and improving the quality of the air they breathe. To help citizens stay informed about air quality issues, both inside and outside the home, the City of Boulder provides resources. The City of Fort Collins is also committed to supporting compliance with federal ozone regulations by implementing programs and policies that reduce local emissions of ozone-causing pollutants and supporting legislation and policies that reduce regional transportation of ozone and ozone-causing pollutants. The Fort Collins Air Quality Plan outlines plans to reach the ozone layer through local work to reduce pollution from sources such as gas and diesel vehicles and engines, as well as regional collaboration to reduce transported pollution, such as the impacts of oil and gas operations.

Air contamination can come from a variety of sources, from wildfires to common household products. The state of Colorado is working to reduce air pollution through strategies that include engine regulations, vehicle regulations, and power plant controls, which should improve visibility conditions in the park. Citizens can take immediate steps to protect their health and help improve outdoor air quality in Boulder. Sign up for air quality alerts, monitor air quality data, and follow the state's toll-free hotline for updates on current and expected air quality conditions.

In neighborhoods such as Commerce City, Globeville, and Elyria-Swansea, smoke and ozone have compounded toxic industrial pollution that residents have been breathing in high concentrations for years. The STANDARD VISIBILITY INDEX reports visual air quality in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area, which encompasses seven counties. The most polluting vehicles on the roads are school buses, and the oldest and dirtiest vehicles are often found in low-income communities. Over the past summer, several Western Slope counties experienced terrible air quality and were given a low ozone rating by the American Lung Association.

The federal government has identified more than 188 dangerous air pollutants, which are emitted in significant quantities in many Colorado communities close to industries such as steel, medical sterilization, oil and gas, and others. Should atmospheric conditions suggest an increase in ground-level ozone concentrations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council will issue an ozone warning. The current design of buildings and appliances that run on gas can contribute to poor indoor air quality, meaning that Coloradans who have health problems related to air quality cannot find relief inside. Citizens can help reduce air pollution in north-central Colorado by taking a few simple steps: sign up for air quality alerts; monitor air quality data; follow the state's toll-free hotline; use public transportation; carpool; avoid idling; use energy efficient appliances; use non-toxic cleaning products; avoid burning wood or trash; use electric lawn mowers; avoid using aerosol products; recycle; compost; plant trees; support legislation that reduces regional transportation of ozone-causing pollutants.

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