Join Health Plus, the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center and the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) on Wednesday, April 30, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for the weekly Walking Wednesdays event. Steve Gild with SEMO will lead the walk and discuss air quality as part of National Air Quality Awareness Week, which begins Monday, April 28.
The Walking Wednesdays group meets at the Medical Center North drop-off, rain or shine. In the event of rain, the group will walk in the campus tunnels.
Reduce your contribution to air pollution
Most people contribute to air pollution each day through driving, idling in their automobiles, and not properly maintaining their vehicles. Some easy ways to reduce your contribution to air pollutants include:
- Utilizing Vanderbilt’s alternative transportation programs available for students, faculty and staff, such as car sharing programs, carpool and vanpool options, MTA “Ride to Work” and RTA “Relax and Ride” bus programs, the Music City Star commuter train and biking resources;
- Knowing each day’s air quality index (AQI) by signing up for the Clean Air Partnership of Middle Tennessee’s Air Alerts, which are automatically sent to your email. Reduce driving as much as you can when the AQI is 101 or above (orange zone);
- Turning off your car when at a drive-thru and avoiding extended idling. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that more than 6 billion gallons of fuel are wasted each year because of idling; and
- Keeping up with car maintenance. Properly inflated tires, tuned engines and adherence to gasoline refueling instructions allow for vehicle fuel to burn cleaner, last longer and reduce emissions into the air.
Do it for your health
If you think you are keeping your heart in good shape by eating right, exercising and abstaining from smoking, but you aren’t paying attention to air quality, you could be putting your health at risk. Air pollution is a proven risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and exposure to fine particles and ozone have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and early death in people with heart disease.
When the AQI reaches 101 or above, reduce the pollutants that you breathe by:
- Exchanging strenuous outside activities with easier ones, such as walking instead of running and weeding your garden instead of moving heavy mulch;
- Moving your exercise indoors; and
- Refraining from exercise near busy roads, which generally have poor air quality due to pollutants from passing cars.
Additional air quality information can be found at AirNow.gov and Clean Air Partnership of Middle Tennessee. For more information about Vanderbilt’s alternative transportation options, visit SustainVU, email email@example.com or call (615) 322-9022.
Contact: Tiffany Renfro, (615) 322-9022