Top Ten: Tips to Make Your Neighborhood Pollution Free
Neighborhood pollution comes in all forms – cigarette butts on street corners, dog remnants on the grass, food wrappers and bags blowing by and pesticides and fertilizers in our yards. Luckily, a few easy adjustments in habits can snowball into a community effort to make your neighborhood cleaner and healthier for everyone. Try out these ten suggested steps to make your neighborhood pollution free.
- Lead by example. The number one thing you can do to keep your neighborhood clean is set a litter-free example for others. Pick up after your dog, don’t flick cigarette butts onto the ground and if you see litter lying around, grab it.
- Tie your trash bags. When you put your trash in the cans for pickup, take a moment to tie your bags and secure your lids. This prevents stray pieces of trash from falling out and blowing around your neighborhood.
- Give back. Become involved in a community cleanup, or better yet, organize one yourself. Everyone wants to live in a clean neighborhood and we love getting involved in group cleanups. Get your family and friends together, bring some music and snacks and spend an hour or two tidying up the place you call home. Check Coastkeeper’s beach cleanup schedule for your next monthly opportunity to pick up trash in your coastal neighborhood – the beach.
- Landscape responsibly. Try this top ten list to reduce your fertilizer and pesticide use.
- Go to a carwash. Another way to prevent urban runoff is to take your car to a carwash where it recycles water. When you wash your car in your driveway, the water carries toxins from your yard and the cleaning chemicals into storm drains, which flow directly to our waters. Plus, a car wash that recycles water conserves water, too!
- Ride your bike. By riding your bike, taking public transit and carpooling, you reduce your contribution to air and water pollution in your neighborhood and the region.
- Reuse. Reuse wrapping paper, gift bags, plastic containers and anything else as much as you can. Recycling is important, but reusing is even better and saves you money, too.
- Stay away from StyrofoamTM. StyrofoamTM is one single-use material that cannot be recycled. Styrofoam is harsh on the environment and is often found at beach cleanups and in our waters. Choose alternatives to Styrofoam cups, egg cartons and miscellaneous other supplies that will inevitably end up on your street or in a landfill.
- Find your voice. Learn how you can join friends and have a voice in the decision-making in your community to support clean, healthy neighborhoods on a legislative level.
- Get outside. The only way to want to keep your neighborhood clean is to love and appreciate it, and the only way you will love your neighborhood is if you spend time in it. Get up and take a stroll around your community to remind yourself what you love and why you want to keep it clean.
Top Ten: Simple Ways to Drive Your Car Less
The massive amount of cars on San Diego County’s roads greatly contributes to water and air pollution. We breathe the chemicals from autos, which irritate our lungs, resulting in asthma, bronchitis, lowered-lung capacity and other respiratory illnesses. Cars also cover our streets with pollution, like copper dust and oil, that rain and runoff carry into our waters. Follow these tips to drive your car less and help reduce runoff and carbon emission pollution in San Diego.
- Get on your bike. We are lucky to live in San Diego – a bike-friendly city with paths, routes and lanes solely for biking. Take advantage of these. Instead of always relying on your car, try to make the shorter trips by bike. You will get exercise and won’t have to lose your parking space.
- Don’t sweat the sweat. It’s ok to sweat. Really, it’s ok- it’s actually good for you. Make a small bag of personal hygiene items to freshen up when you get to your destination.
- Shop local. Have you explored all the shops within walking or biking distance of your home? Give up the big shopping center and try nearby local businesses and farmers market.
- Public transit. You can get almost anywhere in San Diego with the extensive public transportation systems. Our Metropolitan Transit System covers a total of 3,240 square miles of San Diego County and serves approximately three million residents. There are also our Greyhound Lines, the North County Coaster and the Big Bay Shuttle to get you to any location, from any location.
- Carpool. Going somewhere with all your friends? There’s a lane for that. Save yourself the cost of gas and hitch a ride with people going the same direction as you.
- Have a block party. Want to go out, but don’t feel like driving? Good news is you’ve likely got friends all around you, and you don’t have to go far. And if you don’t know your neighbors, now is your chance. Organize a block potluck, or simply sit outside with your dog or someone you know for a fun night at home.
- Plan ahead. Instead of jumping in your car and running errands across town, take a minute to think about where you are going to get what you need. Maybe you can find all the things you need in one shopping center, or perhaps you can run one errand next week when you are in that part of town. Plan your errands to combine trips and save time and gas.
- Daily car rentals. If you don’t drive your car much but need it on occasion, consider a carshare. You use it when you need it and stick to biking and public transit the rest of the time.
- Set goals. For most of us, cutting driving cold-turkey wouldn’t work for very long. Make short-term and long-term goals and take it one day at a time. Try just one day a week when you find an alternative to driving.
- Enjoy it. Getting out of the car and biking, walking or riding the bus is a nice change from the stress of everyday driving. Driving is easy but there are other ways to commute that are healthier for you and the environment. Give them a try- you may be surprised how much you don’t miss your car after all.