Everyone should be a champion for clean air

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Pittsburgh's no longer known as "hell with the lid off." Great progress has been made to clean up our skies, but the clean air fight isn't over. Our region has too many days when children, older adults, people with lung disease or asthma, and active people must avoid prolonged outdoor activity. From the tailpipe of a diesel truck, to the smoke stack of a local factory, to the compressor engine at a natural gas site, the sources of our region's pollution are plentiful and varied. Our solutions, then, must also be diverse and abundant voluntary policies, mandatory regulations, pioneering funding programs and more.

It's clear from the Pittsburgh Regional Environment Survey ("The Survey Says: Pittsburghers Care for Environment," Oct. 30) that more must be done to raise the profile of how pollution affects Pittsburghers' health and quality of life and how citizens can play an important role in advocating for a better environment. That "nearly 79 percent believe there is nothing they can do to solve environmental problems" is troubling. The push for clean air can't come from environmentalists alone.

Leaders need to hear from their constituents and companies need to hear from those living downwind of the pollution. You need not know all the ins and outs of the Clean Air Act, what PM2.5 means or how a smokestack scrubber works to champion for clean air. To apply for the job you just need to be breathing. Get involved! Write a letter to the newspaper about why you care about clean air for your family's health. Ask a driver of an idling truck to turn off the engine. Compost your leaves instead of burning them. Lend your support to groups working for a healthier Pittsburgh region. In short, do your share for clean air!

Executive Director
Group Against Smog
and Pollution


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