5 thoughts on “Focal Points Sought for Air Quality Solutions

  1. And how do we even begin to address fugitive emissions from the shale? Erect giant fans at our southern county borders? I see no recognition of what is acknolwedged by scientists like Dr. Gunnar Schade of how complex the problem is in that regard. In the meantime, as a fourth-generation San Antonian and as an asthmatic, I just want to come home–and I don’t know if the air quality will ever again allow me to do so. I’m angry at local officials for not taking action–and for not applying blame and assigning responsibility where it belongs.

  2. Seems like just a matter of time before we have to start doing annual emissions testing on our cars. Where can I download that Volkswagen software?

  3. Great work, Edmond, but wish you would have included a link to the City’s existing Air Quality Health Alert Plan (2014).

    See: http://www.sanantonio.gov/sustainability/Environment/AirQualityHealthAlertPlan.aspx

    The 2014 Plan details a number actions that San Antonians , City departments, County offices, schools, employers, households, hotels, visitors etc. could take now to help improve our air quality – particularly during our area’s ozone season (roughly May – October; you can monitor readings across Texas here: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/cgi-bin/compliance/monops/select_curlev.pl), but as the City’s Plan suggests, are good practices year-round.

    Improving air quality also intersects with the City’s [FEMA] Hazard Mitigation Plan (draft January 2015) and mitigating particularly the identified hazard of extreme heat.

    See: http://saoemprepare.com/About/News/tabid/125/ArticleID/16/ArtMID/896/Hazard-Mitigation-Plan.aspx.aspx

    Below are some key action steps drawn from the City’s 2014 Air Quality Health Alert Plan. If City departments and others implement these points year-round – as well as utilize them to guide and shape budget, bond, 2040 and other planning (#placechanging) – it could help considerably with addressing our air quality problems and other identified hazards to human life.

    – Practice energy conservation. Such as by turning off lights and computers and limiting air condition use [relates, as well, to green building and events – including utlizing renewable energy]

    – Utilize ‘Green’ – Energy and Environmental Design – Building principles and standards [silver or higher – see http://www.usgbc.org/leed%5D with all types of new construction and retrofits

    – Reduce unnecessary heavy construction work[relates to green building]

    – Preserve existing trees, encourage the planting of new trees, and encourage responsible development

    – Modify convention, sports and entertainment events and venues [make them ‘green’ – see the City’s 2010 ordinance http://www.sanantonio.gov/sustainability/OrdinancesAndGovernance.aspx%5D

    – Avoid travel by motorized vehicle through known congested areas whenever possible.

    – Operate vehicles only on an as-needed basis.

    – Reduce the movement and use of motorized non-emergency vehicles

    – Minimize scheduling of morning meetings between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and
    9:00 a.m. / not earlier than 10:00 am when possible or teleconference.

    – Have a flextime policy to minimize congestion during peak traffic hours

    – Have a telecommuting policy

    – Encourage people to walk / not drive for lunch and other breaks

    – Encourage use of public transportation, including with a flextime policy and fare-free service / free passes [EZ Rider etc]

    – Practice appropriate vehicle operating – such as shutting off the engine when parked and/or avoiding idling and drive -thru’s

    – Share rides / carpool [did anyone argue for Uber/Lyft based on the City’s 2014 Plan?]

    – Encourage / incentivize / require hybrid or electric vehicles and taxis [and ridesharing, ride hailing and rentals], including w/ free and prioritized parking downtown.

    – Utilize ultra-low sulfur diesel

    – Utilize vehicle emissions testing annually and fix problem with vehicles

    – Modernize and synchronize traffic signals

    – Reduce maintenance by / use of powered equipment (electric and gasoline-powered)

    – Reduce generator use [a key consideration for food trucks, events, etc]

    – Minimize VOCs and solvent use with painting and maintenance

    – Minimize the spraying of insecticides and herbicides

  4. I know downtown turns into an automobile clusterfuck at 5 from everybody and their brother scrambling to race back to their mind-numbingly boring suburban abodes. The refusal of urban Texans to grow up and employ public transit like our more mature European counterparts is the root of our pollution problem.

  5. As an avid bicyclist i am concerned about the effects of air pollution on my health. Maybe if the exhaust were routed through the cabin of the car instead of vented outside and behind there would be more urgency to change the way we commute. It’s analogous to the barista pissing in your latte before you drink it but we don’t think about it that way. We’re ensconced in our comfortable motor carriage riding blithely down the street, our mind focused on anything but the toxic chemicals we’re dumping outside our car into the air. Heck, we’re not even aware we live on a planet most of the time.

    I don’t know what the solution is but maybe some awareness raising plus attractive alternatives would help make the air we breathe cleaner and healthier for everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *