The Clean Air Action commitment is a new campaign from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The challenge is to overcome Houston’s dubious distinction of having the second worst ozone pollution in the nation.
The H-GAC’s Veronica Baxter-Lamb says the Houston region stands to lose millions or even billions of dollars in federal funding if we can’t attain ozone standards.
“Our area does not meet our air quality standards, according to EPA. Because we are a severe non-attainment area for ozone, it means that there are certain things that we have to do in this region.”
To that end, Baxter-Lamb says they’re asking people to commit to just one change. It could be as simple as turning off the lights and unplugging appliances in your house. Or follow the example of Jose Quezada, who vanpools from Katy to the Texas Medical Center.
“About a year ago, gas was close to $4 per gallon. It was definitely putting a stress on my pocket. And so I decided to maybe start car-sharing. And I did that for a few months, until I got involved with the vanpooling solutions. I went from spending maybe $400 a month on gas, to only spending about $100 a month on the monthly bill for the vanpool.”
Naturally a vanpool doesn’t work for everyone. But the premise of the Clean Air Commitment is there’s bound to be at least one thing you can do to improve Houston’s air quality.
“Every little bit helps, even if citizens recycle or use a commute alternative such as vanpooling or carpooling or transit. All of those things will help and everything added up together just increase the improvements for our area.”
Houston’s ozone season runs from March through October. The H-GAC is holding an event this Friday at Jones Plaza called Fresh Air Friday to provide information about clear air programs.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.