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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council
News Release
Thursday, March 31, 2011

OZONE SEASON TRIGGERS REGION-WIDE
CLEAN AIR COMMITMENT CAMPAIGN

Houston-Galveston Area Council Urges Citizens to Take Action

Houston– March 1 – October 31 is commonly known as ozone season in Houston, the time when hot temperatures contribute to increased levels of ground-level ozone. During this time, the high level of impurities in our air contributes to health issues such as heart disease, asthma and lung cancer.

To help combat this clean air issue locally, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) is kicking off a clean air awareness program asking citizens to visit www.cleanairaction.org and commit to one action during ozone season such as trying a commute alternative, recycling or turning off lights in order to reduce the region’s ozone footprint.

“Through this campaign, we are challenging residents to make small modifications to their daily lives that will help reduce ozone levels in our area,” Shelley Whitworth, H-GAC air quality program manager. “If each individual can commit to making one change during this campaign, it will considerably improve the quality of life for residents throughout the area.”

During the campaign, residents who make a pledge will be entered to win a prize that will be announced at Fresh Air Friday on April 8, 2011 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Jones Plaza. This “Picnic on the Plaza,” now in its eighth year, highlights clean air programs that promote the use of alternative fuels, clean-engine technology and commute alternatives. Food and activities will be provided to event attendees, as well as free health screenings including blood pressure, BMI assessment and Skinscope offered by Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Fresh Air Friday’s exclusive medical partner. Additional prizes will be awarded throughout the clean air commitment campaign.

How can you take action? Here are four easy ways:

1.      Use a Commute Alternative – Carpooling/NuRide, teleworking, riding the bus, vanpooling , biking and walking all reduce emissions released into the air (and can save you money at the pump).

2.      Maintain Your Vehicle – Change your oil regularly and keep your tires inflated to maximize your gas mileage and reduce emissions.

3.      Recycle – Recycling one plastic water bottle saves 100 to 1000 years of landfill space. Also, the process of making recycled bottles emits fewer emissions into the atmosphere.

4.      Be Energy Conscious – Unplugging seldom used appliances, turning off lights and using a programmable thermostat can greatly reduce your energy consumption.

“Residents are becoming increasingly aware of higher ozone levels and traffic volume as well as the costs associated with car maintenance and monthly home energy bills,” said Whitworth. “Through this campaign, we are providing residents with a tool that encourages them to stand up and be a part of the solution while participating in something that fits their lifestyle and puts money back in their wallet.”

For more information on the clean air campaign and to declare your clean air action, visit www.cleanairaction.org.

About Houston-Galveston Area Council

The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) is a voluntary association of 132 local governments and elected officials in the 13-county Gulf Coast Planning region of Texas – a service area of 12,500 square miles with more than 6 million people. H-GAC is designated by the State of Texas as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for transportation planning for Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties.




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