SAN DIEGO, Oct. 3, 2018 - More than a dozen community organizations, businesses and elected leaders came together today to show their support for clean air efforts as part of the inaugural California Clean Air Day. San Diego was one of about a dozen cities that organized a regional event to highlight air quality impacts from transportation and encourage collective actions to reduce air pollution.
Bad Air Quality Affects All of Our Health
Poor air quality affects us all, but is especially harmful to seniors, children and those with respiratory illnesses who are the most vulnerable. The American Lung Association correlates poor air quality with higher rates of asthma, lung disease, emergency room visits, and in some cases, it can be fatal.
A primary driver for poor air quality is emissions from vehicles. The transportation sector accounts for about 41 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in California. That percentage is even higher in the City of San Diego – 54 percent.
“San Diego is well-known for its beautiful beaches and great quality of life, but what most don’t realize is that the region’s air pollution has been getting worse over the past few years,” said Fabiola Lao, Senior Transportation Policy Manager at the Center for Sustainable Energy. “Data from our Equinox Quality of Life Dashboard indicate the number of unhealthy air days in San Diego increased 48% from 2016 to 2017. Thankfully, many individuals, organizations and businesses are supporting initiatives in the region that are helping to clean our air.”
Clean Up Our Region’s Air By Through Clean Transportation
For example, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has plans to acquire electric buses as part of a trial program. Zero emission electric vehicles (EVs) help reduce air pollution and improve the health of our communities. Last month, MTS also introduced its South Bay Rapid service, a nonstop commuting option to downtown that provides more residents the opportunity to take a quick bus trip, reducing vehicle miles traveled, an important component of many climate action plans.
“Improving mobility options, including public transportation, is an opportunity to improve the health of San Diegans and our quality of life”, says Councilmember Georgette Gómez, who also serves as Chair of MTS. “Transit builds communities and connects us together.”
In support of regional EV adoption, San Diego Gas & Electric’s Power Your Drive program is installing charging stations at apartments, condominiums and workplaces. SDG&E also offers an electric vehicle time-of-use electricity pricing plans to incentivize EV owners to charge at home before 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m.
“We are proud to support Clean Air Day and do our part to improve local air quality,” said Estela de Llanos, SDG&E’s vice president of operations, sustainability and chief environmental officer. “Our clean air mission is built upon our commitment to clean energy and clean transportation. Along with our industry-leading 45 percent renewable energy portfolio, we are building new charging stations to add more EVs to roadways which will help reduce harmful emissions.
Take the Pledge to Do Your Part
Learn more about California Clean Air Day and take a pledge at www.cleanairday.org to do your part to reduce air pollution. Pledges will be accepted through Oct. 10.