Everyone can make the Valley's air cleaner - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Everyone can make the Valley's air cleaner

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Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 7:43 pm | Updated: 1:47 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Fulton Brock: After all these years of hazy skies, wheezing lungs and federal clean-air warnings, it comes as no surprise to any of us in Maricopa County that we have a serious air pollution problem. We are concerned about our public health, and the threat of losing billions of federal highway dollars makes it more worrisome than it already is.

After all these years of hazy skies, wheezing lungs and federal clean-air warnings, it comes as no surprise to any of us in Maricopa County that we have a serious air pollution problem. We are concerned about our public health, and the threat of losing billions of federal highway dollars makes it more worrisome than it already is.

But what is sometimes underappreciated is exactly how much we as individuals can do to make things better, cleaner, prettier, more healthful. And with 4 million people in Maricopa County, a little help adds up to a lot.

That's the logic behind the county's new campaign, "Clean Air - Make More."

When I first heard the slogan, it struck me as an atmospheric impossibility. How can you make more air than nature provides on its own? We all breathe the same air. How can we manufacture more? Truth is, we can't. But we can make the air that we do have cleaner. Indeed, countless thousands of our fellow citizens are doing so today. I call them champions.

We have a lot of clean-air champions, and many are in the private sector. They're all around us. My office staff and several employees on my floor ride share daily. A financial administrative assistant with the county's Air Quality Department has been taking the bus 75 miles round trip every day for three years from Apache Junction! And she walks a quarter of a mile to catch the bus. We figure she has traveled 52,000 miles and saved 1,151 pounds of pollution by her commitment to clean air.

Among the most cooperative in the private sector are construction companies that do their part to control dust even though it affects their timelines and increases project costs.

Clean air. We can make more. Everyone can contribute. Our Air Quality Department suggests a few simple things, for example:

Carpooling or using public transportation, the new light rail or bus.

If you do drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated.

Change your light bulbs to the energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Use a rake or a broom instead of a leaf blower.

Please, don't burn wood, leaves or trash.

Check out CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more.

We can't manufacture more air, but we can make a difference. If enough of us adopt a few good habits, we will clean up the air we have.

Help make a new habit, a way of living, a commitment. And we all can be part of it. In fact, we must.

Fulton Brock, a Chandler Republican, is a Maricopa County supervisor representing District 1.

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