Road trips are a summer vacation staple for many Americans during June and July. These months are some of the busiest times on the road. Perhaps vacationers are travelling to visit family, the beach or a national park. Regardless of the destination, air quality is always an issue in our environment. Living in major cities, there has long been concern over the air particulates and gases that we are exposed to during our extended commutes. Now with ever increasing numbers of motorists on the roads during the summer, efforts are being made to examine the air in places we might take for granted.
Hazards on the Road
Some car manufactures are developing technology to help purify the air inside the vehicle. For example, Hyundai has launched its Smart Air Purification system that monitors the air and adjusts quality automatically. The system works to scrub particulates from the cabin air to improve air quality. It can even remove odors using activated charcoal. How neat!
Once you get to your destination, like a national park, you expect to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors.
That may not be the case.
In the past year, popular parks such as Joshua Tree recorded up to two months where ozone levels were considered dangerous- mostly in the summer when visitation is at its highest, says a study from The Guardian. The National Parks Conservation Association has also reported that 96% of national parks are impacted by pollution that affects “visibility, health, nature and climate”.
Current Air Quality
Haze or smog pollution is common in 89% of monitored parks. During certain times of the day, the air becomes unhealthy to breathe. This has an impact on animals and their habitats, since they are sensitive to changes in their environment. Poor air quality can cause lung damage and harm immune systems, in humans as well as animals (The Guardian).
Checking the Air Quality Index AQI of your destination is one way to be active in keeping your family safe on your travels. There are many factors that influence our emissions, but there are also many ways to do your part to help the environment and protect air quality.
The Ripple Effect
Ways to improve the air quality within your home include mold assessments, improving ventilation, testing for radon gas, monitoring for carbon monoxide, using air purifiers, and running kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
Though it can at times be difficult to implement these and various and other measures, such as using less electricity, executing them will not hurt your chances of reducing emissions. You can take it one step at a time.
Latitudes Environmental is a full-service professional services firm, staying up to date with environmental topics that impact our communities.