Air quality officials said "Spare the Air Day" lost its effectiveness with Valley residents. That's why officials hope the new "Healthy Air Living Week" program inspires businesses and individuals to find better lasting ways to reduce harmful emissions.
Last year wildfires in Northern and Southern California smothered the Central Valley with unhealthy particles in the air. Exhaust from cars on Valley highways clouded the skyline last November. Since 1998, problems like this caused the Air Pollution Control District to issue Spare the Air Days which was a warning for Valley residents to reduce harmful emissions by cutting back on driving and wood burning. But Spare the Air has given way to a new program called 'Healthy Air Living Week.'
Seyed Sadredin said:" We think we had peaked with the Spare the Air program. It was people would get a notice late in the day that tomorrow was going to be a Spare the Air Day and they really didn't have time or the tools to react to that and make some behavioral changes."
Seyed Sadredin with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District hosted a forum Wednesday for local businesses and residents to learn about better ways to reduce emissions and use newer, cleaner technology such as an electric yard mower.
Sadredin: "It's a culture changing program. So it's not gonna be a quick fix. It's gonna take some time for that culture to catch on."
One person who caught on was Randy Putnam, the General Manager at Hedrick's Collision Center. Putnam has already spent 120-Thousand dollars converting solvent based paints to water-borne in order to comply with district regulations set for next year.
Putnam: "We chose to do that early to go green quicker and help reduce emissions."
Putnam said he attended the healthy air living forum to find better ways to conserve energy and reduce emissions. Putnam's considering starting a carpool system for the 200 or so employees that work with him.
Putnam: "That's what this is all about today, reducing the amount of oxides of nitrogen that cause the smog that you see everyday."
Air district officials said instead of one day of warnings the whole week will be spent learning about technology that's safe for the environment and ways to cut back on emissions. Officials admitted this was a change and may take some time catching on but hope this program gets everyone thinking about the environment.