To stay within air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fort Benning Environmental Management Division is asking commuters to help reduce vehicle emissions — and it all begins with a simple survey.
And it’s not just Fort Benning seeking to accomplish sustainability goals. Tannis Danley, air quality program manager, said it was part of the federal government’s efforts, calling it “greening the government.”
For Fort Benning, Danley said it is because of the possibility of Fort Benning becoming a nonattainment location due to the increasing amount of commuter traffic to Fort Benning and the lower National Ambient Air Quality Standards set by the EPA. Nonattainment areas are locations that exceed NAAQS standards set by the EPA as required by the 1990 Clean Air Act.
Danley said the standards have become more stringent and Fort Benning is sandwiched between trying to lower vehicle emissions and dealing with an increasing population.
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The two pollutants officials are most concerned with are ozone and particulate matter. These pollutants cause health problems such as coughing, chest pain, and throat pain, according to the EPA’s website. It can also worsen conditions like asthma and bronchitis. Children, older adults and people with lung and heart problems are especially susceptible to air pollutants as they may worsen or create new conditions.
Fort Benning is working in partnership with the Clean Air Campaign to reduce these air pollutants. Fort Benning’s first step is the commuting survey, which will determine commuting trends on Fort Benning.
To get an accurate trend, a large number of surveys are needed, Danley said. People who complete the survey can enter a drawing for a chance to win one of 50 $10 Visa gift cards.
At the completion of the commuting survey, participants are directed to the Clean Air Campaign’s website where they are encouraged to log commuting hours, as well as find alternate methods of travel besides driving alone. In return, those who join are given incentives such as being eligible to win gift cards and gas cards.
The Army also has the Army Mass Transportation Benefit program, which gives more incentives and benefits to Army service members and their families, and civilians working for the Army.
Danley said besides carpooling, other ways people can reduce vehicle emissions include making sure cars are tuned up, tires are inflated properly, driving the speed limits and turning off cars whenever possible instead of leaving them idle.
To complete the clean air survey, go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/FortBenning.