Although we’ve all been guilty of idling our vehicles in the cold weather, LICA (Lakeland Industry and Community Association) is doing an awareness campaign to cut down on unnecessary idling to improve air quality.
Their “60 Seconds or Less” motto encourages drivers to shut off their vehicles if they’re parked for more than a minute.
During a presentation to M.D. of Bonnyville council on Wednesday, Lisa Gander and Arianne Crook from LICA advocated small changes to driver’s habits to make the air more breathable in the Lakeland.
“It’s also about motivating people to take action towards contributing to a healthy environment,” they said.
“It’s important to distinguish what’s needless idling and necessary. We have had some pushback about idling for 60 seconds or less and we do acknowledge there are definitely necessary times.”
The examples they used for unnecessary idling was waiting to pick up your children at school, waiting at the grocery store, and warming the inside of your vehicle before driving.
Clearing a foggy windshield, passengers without proper winter clothing, or when there are children in the vehicle in extremely cold temperatures is deemed necessary.
The emissions from vehicle exhaust can aggravate heart or lung issues in seniors and children.
They said that if all drivers reduced needless idling by three minutes a day, it’s the equivalent of taking 320,000 vehicles off the road for a year.
Plugging in your vehicle to a block heater two hours before you plan to drive can help limit unnecessary idling.
The best way to warm up your vehicle they say is to drive it.
LICA is working with the Grade 5’s at École des Beaux-Lacs on the campaign, where students measure the air quality during student drop off and pick up times.
“They’re going to then approach the parents and ask them if they’re interested in stopping needless while presenting the same information that’s presented to you.”
LICA has air quality monitoring stations at the Bonnyville Library and the Cold Lake Energy Centre and is working with the Alberta Airsheds Council on the awareness.
“We also encourage carpooling, taking public transit, and active transport.”
Reeve Greg Sawchuk said there may be ways the M.D. can be more efficient.
“Let’s take this as information now but have our administration go back and look at what we can do maybe in our own operations, but then also certainly we can use the M.D. website and Facebook to help spread the message.”