Air Quality Awareness Week (AQAW) 2022 has been designated as May 2 – May 6. AQAW corresponds with ozone season, wildfire season, and World Asthma Day. The theme for AQAW 2022 is “Be Air Aware & Prepared.”Continue reading
Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. This year’s Earth Day theme is “invest in our planet”. We are on this planet together and together we can invest our time, energy, and effort, to protect and preserve this planet we call Earth for ourselves and future generations.
As citizens of the Earth and South Carolina, we can actively invest in our planet by:
Participating in Citizen Science projects/programs. These projects/programs are something you can do year-round. Citizen science is when people collect data through observation of the physical world and report it to the scientific community. They range from global efforts such as the Great Back Yard Bird Count to local programs such as SC Adopt a Beach and SC Adopt a Stream programs.
Learn more about South Carolina’s environment by participating in local state park programs and events. State Park programs and events cater to all ages and interest from the mountains to the sea, including interpretive nature walks, interactive exhibits, and other outdoor adventures.
Some things you can do to invest time, energy, and effort, around your community and in your own yard include:
- Start a neighborhood project to label storm drains; only rainwater should go down the drain.
- Compost at home and use the compost as a natural fertilizer for flower beds.
- Bag the grass when mowing in the Spring to stop the spread of weeds and reduce the need for harsh chemicals on the yard.
- Encourage local schools and businesses to enroll in the Breathe Better Anti-Idling program to reduce air pollution, the Champions of the Environment competitive grant program to promote student engagement, and the Take Action SC Environmental Education program that encourages and promotes environmental education across South Carolina
To learn more about what you can do to celebrate Earth Day, visit DHEC’s Make Every Day Earth Day webpage.
Spring is here and that means the return of the ozone forecasting season, which for South Carolina is April 1st through September 30.
As it heats up in the Palmetto state and we drive our vehicles, the exhaust mixes with other pollutants and contributes to ground-level ozone in our atmosphere. Under certain conditions, ozone levels can be high enough that an “Ozone Action Day,” or “orange day” alert, is issued. High levels can adversely impact people who are sensitive to ozone pollution, especially children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems.Continue reading
Beginning in 1995, the Midlands Aiken Environmental Affairs office of DHEC became the home base for Environmental Surveillance and Oversight Program (ESOP) . This program was established through an agreement between the Department of Energy-Savannah River (DOE-SR) and DHEC to provide non-regulatory, environmental monitoring of the Savannah River Site, a post-Cold War-era nuclear material production facility that is on a 310-square mile area located 20 miles south of Aiken.Continue reading
January is National Radon Action Month, and DHEC is encouraging all South Carolinians to test their homes for radon. You can request a free home test kit by clicking here.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Any home can have a radon problem. The only way to determine if your home is trapping radon gas is to test.
Quick Facts about Radon:
- Breathing in radon can change the cells in your lungs, which increases your chances for lung cancer.
- Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S.
- Smokers who are exposed to radon have a much higher risk of lung cancer.
- Elevated radon concentrations have been found across South Carolina.
- Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels.
- New homes can be built with radon-resistant features.
- South Carolina has nationally-certified professionals who can fix homes with elevated radon levels.
The South Carolina Radon Program provides a radon test kit to homeowners free of charge. To learn more about radon or request your free home test kit, please click here.