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Air quality could take hit with back to school traffic
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The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is hoping area residents can help avoid a spike in ozone levels by refraining from idling vehicles while transporting kids to and from schools.

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.  Triple-digit temperatures and multiple wildfires are impacting Valley air quality, 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’ve had a great summer with regard to keeping ozone levels down,” 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.”


Valley air quality has shown tremendous improvement over the past several summer ozone seasons compared to many years ago, and has continually set new improvement records over the past 35 years, according to the Air District.


“These improvements would not be possible without the success of the District’s control strategy through its various attainment planning efforts, its robust incentive programs, and the commitment from Valley stakeholders doing their part to reduce emissions as much as possible,” the Air District stated in a news release.


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.