The City of Oak Forest has joined the Clear Air Counts campaign, an environmental program that seeks to reduce air pollution in the region. City officials formally unveiled the program to residents at the Oak Forest Community Awareness Fair in October 2006.
Clean Air Counts is a collaborative effort sponsored by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the City of Chicago, the federal and state environmental protection agencies, and member municipalities. The goal is to persuade people in metropolitan Chicago to use fewer air pollutants in their everyday lives. To meet that goal, it offers the roughly 400 businesses and 35 communities participating in the program specific pollution reduction plans and the funding to carry out those plans.
What the City Is Doing
Some methods that the city is considering to reduce emissions and air pollution include: energy-efficient lighting for city buildings, gas can exchange programs, gasoline lawnmower buy back events, natural landscaping, diesel retro-fit programs, low emission vehicles, and transportation programs.
The city co-sponsored a lawnmower-buy-back event in 2004 in conjunction with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Gas-powered lawnmowers contribute to regional smog by emitting pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). By using electric, battery or non-motorized mowers, residents can help improve air quality. The buy-back event allowed residents to trade in their old lawnmowers and receive a $150 rebate (from grant funds provided by IEPA) on the purchase of a push or electric lawn mower.
Look for upcoming Clean Air Counts events in future editions of FYI and on the city's Web site.