In Australia, state and federal governments are working closely together to keep the air as clean as possible. There are also steps individuals can take to reduce air pollution in the community such as choosing ‘cleaner’ domestic heaters and reducing the number of trips in the car.
In order to limit your exposure to air pollution, there are a number of simple steps you can take such as:
- Check your local air quality index (AQI) to find information on current air pollution levels in your area at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment
- Know when and where air pollution may be bad
- Ozone is often worst on hot summer days, especially in the afternoons and early evenings
- Particle pollution can be bad any time of year. It can be especially bad when the weather is calm, allowing air pollution to build up. Particle levels can be high near busy roads, during rush hour, and when there is smoke in the air from wood heaters, hazard reduction activities or during bush fires. Dust storms will also generate high levels of particle pollution.
- Avoid exercising near busy roads and industrial areas. If you experience symptoms, or tend to be susceptible to air pollution consider the following:
- Substitute your exercise with a less intense activity (e.g. walk instead of jog)
- Reduce the time you are exercising outdoors
- In summer, plan your most vigorous activities for the morning
- See your doctor if symptoms are severe or do not settle after reducing exposure
- Reduce your air pollution inside your home
- Don’t smoke indoors
- Regularly ventilate your home to remove indoor pollutants and build up of moisture. Turn on exhaust fans, particularly when bathing, showering, cooking, doing laundry and drying clothes.
- Don’t use wood-fired stoves and wood-burning heaters (fire places) in your home if possible. If you do use a wood-burning heater, follow the recommendations on our factsheet on wood-burning heaters to minimise air pollution
- Don’t use unflued gas heaters if possible. If you do use an unflued gas heater, follow the recommendations on our factsheet on unflued gas heaters
- Install a kitchen exhaust fan above your gas cook top if possible
- Consider limiting burning candles and incense
- Don’t use ozone generators for managing indoor air pollution or odour problems. Read our factsheet on ozone generators.
- If you suffer from asthma, other respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis (also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD), or cardiovascular disease, make sure you have your reliever medicine handy. For more information please see the section ‘Who is affected by air pollution?’