Self-interest should motivate air-quality actions
De Soto is an often-overlooked part of the metropolitan area. That is not true in regards to air quality. De Soto, like the rest of Johnson County, is part of a six-county air-quality region. Unfortunately, the region is expected to be found out of compliance with new federal air quality standards later this year.
De Soto is spared most to the consequences of metropolitan air pollution because prevailing winds generally move pollutants in the atmosphere in an easterly direction. De Soto residents, however, won't be spared the consequences of regulations imposed to get the area into compliance with the new standards.
Mandatory measures are likely forthcoming because air quality officials candidly admit voluntary steps asked of individuals, governments and businesses probably wouldn't improve air quality to the degree needed.
Although that would appear to discourage the individual actions the Mid America Regional Council suggests, it is still in the self-interest of all to do what he or she can do to make the air cleaner. It doesn't cost anything nor does it create a hardship to fuel early in the morning or later in the evening, forego topping off tanks (which routinely allows fuel to escape in the atmosphere), or mow lawns after the heat of the day has abated.
The cumulative effect of such steps could stave off some regulations. We might not face emission control inspections for our cars and pickups or pay more for gasoline as distributors recoup the cost of special nozzles or blended gasolines.
MARC is starting an awareness drive of the steps individuals can take to improve air quality and encouraging local governments to share in that effort. The organization's Web site, www.marc.org/air quality/action.htm -- has a complete listing of step all can take to clean the air. We would encourage all to review the list and take whatever action possible to make the air safer to breathe.