It’s Time to Clear the Air

All of us want to keep our air clean, but that’s something for big business and government to do. The average person can’t do anything, right?

Wrong! Here’s a simple thing that all of us can do to help improve the quality of the air we breathe. Instead of idling vehicles, turn off the engine when you are not in traffic. It’s a simple but effective step toward cleaner air.

The City of Toronto is having an idle free blitz, running from Sept. 29 to October 3, to educate residents on the importance of not idling vehicles.

When a vehicle is being idled, harmful contaminants are released into the air when you idle your vehicle. Recent studies have shown that contaminants from vehicle emissions are major contributors to deteriorating air quality in our city. By turning off your vehicle’s engine, you can do your part to help keep our air clean.

Restricting vehicles left idling is part of Toronto’s overall action plan to reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and poor air quality. The city also encourages residents to consider alternative methods of transportation such as walking, cycling and using public transit. The City’s Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan is available at www.toronto.ca/environment

Reducing vehicle idling can help improve the air we breathe. The Air Quality Health Index is a new tool that measures air quality in terms of our health. Hourly readings and forecasts are available at www.airhealth.ca.

And, not only does reducing idling save our air, it can save money, too. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than re-starting your engine. If your vehicle is left idling for 10 minutes a day, you would use up more than 100 litres of fuel in a year. Improving air quality and saving money – that’s a combination you just can’t beat!

Here are a couple of other tips that can help. It’s better to warm up your car by driving it rather than idling the engine. Warm up times are reduced by half and you’ll use less fuel. Use remote car starters sparingly. The use of this item results in additional engine idling.

The City of Toronto has a by-law aimed at reducing unnecessary idling. It limits idling to no more than three minutes in a 60-minute period. As well, the by-law allows for idling during extreme outdoor temperatures to ensure heating or cooling inside a vehicle.

It’s time for all of us to take a lead role in clearing the air. Turn off your vehicle’s engine instead of idling. Let’s all breathe easier.