It’s Clean Air Day. Here are 12 tips from SacRT on ways you can take a stand for better air quality
We live in an era of climate change, wildfires and poor air quality. It can feel overwhelming at times, but we can fight back as individuals and as a community.
In recognition of California Clean Air Day, Wednesday, October 5, SacRT and its community partners are calling on the public to make small but smart changes in their daily lives. We’re in this together.
“Clean Air Day is built on the idea of shared experience to improve our community health,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li.
How do you get started? It’s easy.
First, take the Clean Air Pledge by going to www.cleanairday.org/pledge/. The website, a project of the Coalition for Clean Air, offers three types of pledges, one for individuals, one for youths, and one for companies and organizations.
Then, take advantage of a rare offer from SacRT. You can ride transit for free the entire week from Saturday, October 1 to Friday, October 7. That includes all fixed-route bus (including Elk Grove and Folsom), light rail, on-demand SmaRT Ride microtransit shuttles, SacRT GO paratransit service, and SacRT’s e-van service.
Finally, here are a dozen more ideas from SacRT and its community partners on how you can take a stand now for clean air:
|Reduce use of your car
“It’s the number one thing you can do for clean air,” says Jamie Arno of the Sac Metro Air District. Seventy percent of summer pollution comes from gas-powered vehicles. “Try cutting back, even if it means leaving the car at home just one day a week.”
|Make transit a routine
Once you’ve tried SacRT for free on the week of Oct. 1 to Oct. 7, begin integrating transit into your weekly life. SacRT offers not only fixed-route buses and light rail trains, but also provides an Uber-like on-demand SmaRT Ride shuttle service, community buses and SacRT GO paratransit services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
For more info: www.sacrt.com/services/
|Get a free student/youth transit pass
As part of a groundbreaking program, RydeFreeRT, all SacRT bus and light rail rides are free year-round for youth/students up to 12th grade, for both school or non-school activities. Obtain your free pass at your school’s administrative offices or at a Sacramento public library.
For more info: rydefreert.com
|Bike, walk or scoot
Most of our trips are three miles or less. Consider taking a bike. You can bring a bike onto a light rail vehicle, or stow it on the front of a bus. Need skills training? Maps of biking streets? Check in with the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates at sacbike.org/
|Plant a tree
The Sacramento Tree foundation and SMUD offer free trees to individuals or businesses for planting. “Trees are a powerhouse for our health, they are the cheapest and simplest technology available to everyone to ensure clean air for future generations,” says Stephanie Robinson of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, which also hosts volunteer tree planting events. For more Info: sactree.org/freetrees
|Earn $9,500 with gas-car trade-in
Sac Metro Air District has a “Clean Cars 4 All” program that allows people with lower incomes in certain zip codes to trade in their gas-powered car and get a subsidy of up to $9,500 to buy a zero or near-zero emission car or apply for up to seven years of free SacRT transit rides.
For more info: airquality.org/SacCleanCars4All/Pages/default.aspx
|Buy local produce
Most produce is shipped to supermarkets via long-haul trucks. Buy some local produce instead at farmer’s markets, says Adrian Rehn of Valley Vision. “Think of your food purchases as a clean air strategy. Lower our carbon footprint by supporting local farmers.”
Here are a few local markets: marketlocations.com/market-times-locations
More markets: sacramento.downtowngrid.com/listings/local-farmers-markets/
|Go for greener electricity
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) advises you to cut your electricity use weekdays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. That’s when rates are highest and when energy is less clean.For more info: smud.org/TOD. For more home-based clean power tips, go to: cleanpowercity.org/view-tips/
|Reduce plastic usage
SMUD advises: “Avoid products with excessive plastic packaging. You’ll help lower carbon emissions from producing, transporting and disposing of the plastic.”
|Change your home’s air filter
For personal health, home air filters need constant replacement. Experts advise checking your filters in your heating and AC blower at least every three months.
|Gas up the car after sunset
If you can, buy gas after sunset. That way the vapors won’t react to sunlight and create ozone. Keep your tire pressure up. It reduces fuel usage. Also, if driving, get all your daily chores done in one outing.
|Know the air quality in your neighborhood
Air quality varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. To assess air quality throughout the Sacramento region, Central Valley and Bay area, view this map provided by clean air partner Valley Vision: tinyurl.com/snaaqmap
Sacramento’s Clean Air Day working group includes:
Breathe California, Caltrans Sustainability, City of Sacramento, Coalition for Clean Air, Natomas Unified School District, North Natomas Jibe, Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Sacramento Regional Transit District, Sacramento Republic FC, Sacramento State, UC Davis Health, Valley Vision