Sometimes it can be hard to visualize air pollution (except for on a few very smoggy days). Even harder is making the connections between our actions and air pollution.
We found a great activity that uses food colouring to represent pollutants and water to represent the air. Different pollutants (drops of colouring) are released depending on our morning routines. For example, a drop for driving a car to work and even a drop for using hot water in the shower (because of the pollutants created to heat the water).
Clear water represents clean air
Your drive to work releases pollutants into the ‘air’
All the pollutants created from your daily routine mix into the air
When the pollutants mix, it leads to very dirty air
It got us thinking about how all our little actions can make a big impact and that air can be polluted even when we can’t see that pollution.
Imagine if each pollutant was a bright colour and our air was a brown, soupy mess! There is a great write up on this activity so you can do it in the classroom or with kids at home.
Learn lots more about how your actions impact air quality at CleanAir Hamilton’s website.
Fugitive Dust is the term for the dust that gets into our air or water as a side effect of everyday actions or sources such as cars, construction vehicles, agriculture, and outdoor storage piles.
These dusts, called ‘particulate matter’ are a pollutant and have a serious negative effect on our air quality.
Industrial sites are often a main source of these fugitive dusts as many heavy vehicles move around sites and track particles onto the road. Other traffic then moves the dirt around and into our air and water. This dirt is called ‘drag-out’ and it can get especially bad on sites with open storage piles and dirt roads. While things like vehicle exhaust and tire wear also create nasty dusts, the impact of drag-out is very easy to prevent.
Drag out of dust can contribute to air pollution
There are many steps industrial sites, such as construction zones, need to take to decrease the impact of dust on our air quality such as covering supplies and washing vehicles before they leave a site. It isn’t just a suggestion, it’s the law. Municipal By-Laws forbid the tracking of mud, soil or building materials on to public roads and The City can fine violators for costs to clean up the mess.
The best thing to do is to snap a photo (if you can) and then report the violation. Environment Hamilton has a great program called Dust Busters all about drag out and how you can help. Visit their website to find all the details on reporting a problem:
You can also find more about this topic, and lots of other information about air quality in Hamilton, from the CleanAir Hamilton website.