A Smog Advisory means that there is a strong likelihood that there may be poor air quality within the next 24 hours due to ground-level ozone and particulate matter. During a smog episode, people may experience eye irritation. Heavy outdoor exercise may cause coughing or shortness of breath. People with heart or lung disease including asthma may experience a significant worsening of their condition.
Smog is a combination of toxic gases and substances that react in sunlight to create that yellowish-brown haze that have become so familiar in Toronto’s summers. Smog pollutants can be generated naturally, but most are the result of human activity, such as the burning of fuel for electricity, heating/cooling and transportation. Smog can have extensive health impacts, especially on young people and the elderly. By following our suggestions you can lower the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere and reduce the occurrence of smog.
How to survive Smog Days
- Use public transit, work from home or carpool. One busload of passengers takes 40 vehicles off the road during rush hour and avoids 9 tonnes of air pollutants per year that contribute to smog. Of course you can also walk, bike, or roller-blade/skate.
- If you must drive, drive smart. Driving at moderate speeds rather than constantly braking and restarting. This will save fuel. Don’t idle. Idling for even one minute depletes more fuel than turning the car engine off and re-starting it.
- Keep cool wherever possible, do stay indoors. Seniors and children should avoid strenuous physical activity.
- Don’t use air conditioning unless absolutely necessary. Fans use a lot less energy and they help you feel cooler by creating a breeze. When using your A/C, set the thermostat to 26 °C.
- If you live in an older house, vent your home at night. If the temperature outdoors falls lower than the temperature indoors, open all windows to introduce cool, fresh air into your home.
- Blinds and curtains can block excessive heat from direct sunlight. In the morning, close all blinds on the south, west and east sides of your home. Plan to spend as much time as possible in cooler parts of your house, for example, the basement.
- Use your programmable thermostat (or install one!) When you’re away during the day raise the temperature.
- Reduce how much water you use. - a deal of energy is used up each day in pumping, treatment, delivery and heating of water. Wait for another day to water plants or wash the car. Remember, watering your lawn once a week is quite enough.
- Use appliances that are energy and water draining (e.g. washer, dryer, dishwasher etc) at night, when the demand for electricity is lower. The dirty coal-fired power plants, which contribute heavily to smog, are used less at night than during the peak hours of the day.
- Turn off your computer when it’s not in use. Put it into energy saver mode and turn off the monitor when it’s idle.
- Turn off all lights when not in use. When possible use the sun as a light source .
- Don’t use your barbeque, lawn mower or gas powered weed trimmer - these items are heavy polluters.
This information supplied by Eneract. For more informtion contact www.eneract.org