Pima County offers resources to promote air quality by ending engine idling

The PDEQ will launch an educational program about the dangers of vehicle pollution.

Engine idling is a problem when parents leave their cars' engines on while they wait for their children.   File photo

Engine idling is one of the major causes of air pollution. In fact, doing so for only 10 minutes per day can create 340 pounds of air pollution each year. 

It also results in gasoline waste and wear-and-tear on some of the vehicle’s car parts, including the exhaust system, spark plugs, and cylinders.

“Remember the saying ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop’? We could say the same for idling vehicles because they contribute to air pollution problems in Pima County,” Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Senior Program Manager Beth Gorman said. 

This problem can become worse when parents leave their cars' engines on while they wait for their children in school parking lots. The children's subsequent exposure to vehicle pollution can cause health problems both in children and adults, such as respiratory infections and cognitive deficiencies.

Thus, the PDEQ has launched a program to educate locals on the dangers of vehicle pollution. A webpage containing informative videos and a “School Pocket Park” information sheet has been developed by PDEQ for this particular purpose. 

It notes that motor vehicle use is a major source of air pollution in the area. In addition, the county is also on the verge of violating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for ground-level ozone and vehicle emissions. 

“Just because you can’t see emissions coming out of your vehicle, doesn’t mean the idling engine isn’t polluting the air,” Gorman said.

PDEQ suggests reducing vehicle pollution by avoiding engine idling, especially at school. Likewise, reducing the use of drive-thru windows at banks, fast foods, pharmacies, and coffee shops can also make a difference in keeping the air clean. 

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