Hidden Backyard Pollution Hazards Are Key in Fight for Clean Air

Clean Air Partners’ Air Quality Awareness Week Campaign Urges Baltimore-Washington Region Residents to Shift Backyard Habits to Reduce Air Pollution

WASHINGTON--()--As temperatures heat up and ozone season approaches, Clean Air Partners kicks off a public education campaign in conjunction with Air Quality Awareness Week, May 1–5, 2023. The campaign highlights the surprising culprits of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions found right in our own backyards as well as tips for small lifestyle changes to improve air quality.

Daily outdoor activities, such as mowing and fertilizing lawns, spraying insecticides and using a charcoal grill, emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. During the summer, these activities can contribute to the creation of ground-level ozone as well as toxic air pollutants that are harmful to breathe. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, breathing air polluted with ground-level ozone can cause major health issues and worsen long-term lung damage and symptoms of asthma.

Data show that an hour using a gas-powered lawn mower produces the same emissions as driving 350 miles—the distance between Washington, DC, and Cleveland, Ohio. That backyard emission mileage doesn’t stop at lawn care, with a charcoal grilling session of only two hours having the same carbon dioxide emissions as driving a car 26 miles.

“People don’t realize how everyday activities around their home can create harmful emissions that impact not just their family’s health, but create a wider public health concern,” said Randy Mosier, Clean Air Partners Board Chair. "We hope that our campaign will inspire residents to take action in their own backyard and make a positive difference in the air we breathe."

To make these simple switches easier, Clean Air Partners is hosting a social media contest in partnership with regional Ace Hardware stores to give away green lawn care tools and grills, including electric mowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers and propane grills.

The Air Quality Awareness Week events also include the “Backyard Bubble,” an interactive traveling exhibit that tests participants’ knowledge of the impact that everyday outdoor activities have on air quality. Encased in a large plastic bubble, the backyard scene features lawn mowers, leaf blowers, grills and more. An interactive quiz attached to the display challenges residents to imagine "if you could see your emissions" as clouds of water vapor are released inside the bubble to simulate pollutants from less green choices.

Clean Air Partners also provides educators free online curriculum resources with activities that teach students about air pollution issues and solutions. Find them at ontheair.cleanairpartners.net.

For media inquiries, contact jeffs@sherrymatthews.com or call (512) 743-2659.

Clean Air Partners is a public-private partnership educating the greater metropolitan Baltimore-Washington region about health risks associated with poor air quality and the impacts everyday actions have on the environment. Since 1997, Clean Air Partners has been dedicated to empowering individuals and organizations to take simple actions to reduce air pollution, protect public health, and improve air quality. cleanairpartners.net


Jeff Salzgeber, jeffs@sherrymatthews.com, (512) 743-2659


Jeff Salzgeber, jeffs@sherrymatthews.com, (512) 743-2659