Skip to content
Air Quality

Air Pollutants - Particulate Matter (PM) - General Information

How can I help reduce PM?

You can help reduce the formation of PM by:

Open burning is a large source of PM. Open burning includes the burning of landscaping debris, household trash, demolition debris, and land-clearing debris.

Driving a car is likely a person's single most polluting daily activity. Significant progress has been made in reducing emissions and improving air quality since the 1970s. However, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of miles that our vehicles travel has nearly tripled since then. People are driving more miles than ever before, and this offsets some of the advantages gained from cleaner engine technology.

How we operate our vehicles can help reduce pollution. Here are some ideas:

  • Slowly increase your car's speed and use cruise control on the highway.
  • Trip-Chaining, which combines several errands into a single trip.
  • Obey the speed limit. It saves gas and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Keep your vehicle tuned up and your tires properly inflated. Both help save gasoline and improve air quality, as well as make your car safer.
  • Don't top off the gas tank.
  • When shopping for that next car, consider more efficient, less-polluting models.
  • Do not idle your vehicle. Turn off your engine if you expect to be stopped for more than 30 seconds (except in traffic). Consider not using drive-through windows, instead park and walk inside.
Take a Break from the Exhaust (TABFTE) is a computer program that tracks voluntary actions employees take to reduce air pollution. Employees are awarded points for reducing the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) during the work week by carpooling, staying in the office for lunch, telecommuting, and using mass transit. TABFTE also provides ground-level ozone forecasts April 1st September 30th. Contact us for more information on TABFTE.
With You Hold the Key, SC!, you can do your part to help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Find a way for reducing your vehicle miles traveled (VMT) that works best for you, your school, workplace, or community.
The B2 (Breathe Better) program is an anti-idling/clean air campaign. The goal of B2 is to help protect the health and safety of children by reducing harmful vehicle emissions around school campuses. It also helps inform the public about the benefits of practicing anti-idling.

Idling = 0 miles per gallon

In addition to these suggestions, DHEC has additional resources available on our Education and Outreach Services webpage.

For more information please contact the Bureau of Air Quality at (803) 898-4123 or by email.