NOACA HOLDS REGULARLY SCHEDULED BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING ON FACEBOOK LIVE STREAMING MARCH 13, 2020
Cleveland, OH (March 12, 2020)— The regularly scheduled Board of Directors Meeting at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) will still take place at the organization’s offices but through Facebook Live streaming due to the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). The meeting will be Live at 9:00 a.m. on the @NOACA Facebook page. In person participation will not permitted. However, the public can make comments during the meeting on the Facebook platform. The Live stream will be available approximately 10 minutes prior to the meeting.
In concert with our local and state elected officials, NOACA is keeping a close eye on the developing situation surrounding the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) by limiting social interactions. Our number one goal is the safety and well-being of our residents, visitors and communities throughout Northeast Ohio.
We are committed to keeping you informed of any changes to all of our scheduled meetings. Please visit our website at www.noaca.org for more updates.
Better Air, Better Health is Theme of This Year's Air Quality Awareness Week
Air Quality Awareness Week (AQAW) is an annual initiative of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to draw attention to the state of the air we breathe. This year’s Air Quality Awareness Week is May 4-8, with the theme of Better Air, Better Health. Each day of the week has a topic that relates to the overarching theme:
- Monday, May 4: Idling your car gets you nowhere, burns gas, and creates air pollution
- Tuesday, May 5: Telecommuting reduces air pollution
- Wednesday, May 6: How do Air Quality Advisories relate to your health?
- Thursday, May 7: Riding together (carpooling and transit) saves money and reduces air pollution and traffic congestion
- Friday, May 8: Bike or walk for better air, better health, and a better transportation option
As the transportation and environmental planning agency that represents state, county, city, village, and township officials in Northeast Ohio, NOACA works to develop and implement plans to ensure that travel throughout the region is safe, cost-effective, and environmentally sound.
Air quality has been the subject of increased focus this spring with the coronavirus pandemic. Reports from around the world, including satellite data from NASA, show that stay-at-home orders have contributed to significant reductions of air pollution in a number of cities. Streetlight Data estimates that the daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the NOACA region have fallen by nearly three-quarters over the past month. Because transportation makes up a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions in Northeast Ohio, every vehicle taken off the road may help to improve air quality in the NOACA region.
Experts have identified links between air quality and severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Polluted air is linked to a host of health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and respiratory disease, conditions that doctors have associated with higher fatality rates from the virus. Health officials also cite findings that people who live in more polluted areas may be at greater risk of infection and severe illness. Cleaning the air we breathe could help vulnerable populations fight off the threat of disease and save lives during this and future pandemics.
Individual Action Items
Idle reduction and smart commuting are a few simple actions that individuals can take to help clean the air. Individuals should also be aware of the Air Quality Index and take special care to reduce pollution during Air Quality Advisory days.
Idle reduction is perhaps the easiest way individuals can take action to clean the air. Idling reduces your vehicle’s fuel economy, costs you money, and creates unnecessary pollution. Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions that contribute to smog and climate change than starting and stopping your engine.
- Turn off your car
- Wait inside a building instead of in your car to keep warm or cool
- Don't use a remote starter to warm your vehicle
- Warm up your car by driving it
- Instead of using drive-through windows, go inside the building
- Take transit, walk, or ride a bike
- NOACA offers a platform, Gohio Commute, which outlines all your transportation options
Another way individuals can work toward cleaner air is smart commuting (explore and use alternate modes of transportation). In partnership with the six other largest Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in Ohio, NOACA manages Gohio Commute, a multi-regional transportation demand management (TDM) platform. Gohio Commute is the premier ride planning, matching, and logging tool available for free to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina Counties. This interactive platform gives the information needed to make smart choices – to save money, improve health, and improve air quality.
NOACA has organized its Bike Month Challenge for the third year in a row. This year’s contest is co-sponsored by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Bike Cleveland and uGO. With reduced commutes, this year’s bike challenge focuses on riding “there,” whether “there” is the grocery store or the park or a ride with the family. One of the goals of this challenge is to encourage the public to think beyond just work commutes and integrating cycling into as many aspects of daily life as possible. Participants who register and log their bike rides during the month of May will be eligible for prizes.
NOACA and its partners forecast Air Quality Advisories when air quality levels will be unhealthy for sensitive groups including children, the elderly, and those with breathing difficulties. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index used to report daily air quality in a given region. The AQI expresses regional air pollution levels and the associated health effects for people in that region. The AQI focuses on the potential health effects a person may experience within hours or days of breathing polluted air. AQI values range from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the higher the concentration of a pollutant in the air and the greater the potential health impacts.