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Air pollution could spike with back to school traffic
air back to school pic
The Valley Air District is encouraging the public to reduce vehicle emissions by carpooling or walking their children to school. - photo by Photo Contributed

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is hoping motorists can undertake some practices that will help keep air pollution levels from rising during the back to school period.

With school back in session the Valley Air District is asking the public to reduce vehicle emissions by carpooling or walking their children to school and to refrain from vehicle idling during school pick-ups and drop-offs.

Warm temperatures and multiple wildfires may begin to impact Valley air quality over the weekend and into next week, and the public’s help is crucial in reducing the risk of spikes in ground-level ozone and exceeding federal air quality standards.
“Thanks to the vigilance and cooperation of residents and businesses throughout the Valley, we continue to see improvements in air quality every summer,” said Seyed Sadredin, the District’s air pollution control officer and executive director. “We urge the public to be even more mindful of their contributions to poor air quality during this crucial back to school window.”

To help minimize the spikes in air pollution during the back to school season, the Valley Air District may call for the public to take action when conditions such as increased emissions, high temperatures and stagnant air flow are favorable for ozone accumulation. Residents and businesses are urged to reduce vehicle emissions by driving less, refraining from idling their vehicles, carpooling or vanpooling and avoiding the use of drive-through services. Other measures, such as shifting ozone-creating activities, including lawn maintenance to early mornings, can also help offset rising ozone levels.
To help minimize pollution associated with school site vehicle idling, the District has partnered with hundreds of Valley schools through the Healthy Air Living Schools program. The program gives schools tools and materials to encourage parents to “Turn the Key & Be Idle Free” when picking up or dropping off students.