Top 10 ways to reduce air pollution

Save money and help improve air quality with these five easy tips.

Tips 1-5

Smog alerts are becoming a regular feature of life in the city. But you can be part of the solution: even small changes in your daily routine can help us all breathe easier this summer.

1. Get a summer tune-up
"The biggest source of [polluting] emissions in Canada is passenger road transportation. It's 49.9 per cent," says Chris Wolnik, Executive Director of Sarnia's Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention. One way to cut pollutants is to keep your vehicle maintained year-round: Ontario's compulsory Drive Clean program has reduced emissions in the Toronto area by 15%.

2. Don't idle
Do you keep the car running while dashing into the store for milk? "Even that 30 seconds makes a difference," says Wolnik. "If you accumulate that for everyone, that's huge." For example, if citizens of my own community, Whitby, Ontario, idled our cars 5 minutes less every day, we could make a cumulative annual CO2 reduction of 4,209 tonnes -- and save $1.3 million in gas.

3. Review your driving habits
Aggressive driving -- hard braking and sudden acceleration -- eats up fuel. Owners of manual transmission vehicles should also not be driving in a too-low gear.

4. Think aerodynamic
Increased air drag on your car causes the engine to burn more fuel. According to Environment Canada, simply keeping your tires properly inflated can reduce vehicle emissions by 5 per cent. You can also make a difference by emptying the trunk and removing roof racks when they're not being used.

5. What do you drive?
According to the Clean Air Partnership, SUVs produce 20 per cent more CO2 (6 tonnes per year) than a mid-size car (5 tonnes) -- and that difference translates directly into how much you pay at the pumps.

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