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Keeping Our Air Clean This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      Have you ever gone outsideon a beautiful spring day, breathed deeply the fresh sweet air and felt all yourproblems go away? Or, after a spring shower, have you ever experienced your mindclearing in the crisp air, and observed the raindrops lingering on green leavesnewly sprung from the branch? It's a wonderful feeling.

Every year, morethan three million smokers under the age of 18 inhale 4,000 chemical compoundsfrom half a billion cigarettes, and then release them into the air. Every year,thousands of acres of trees that would filter this polluted air and carbondioxide are chopped down. Cars also send poisonous gases into the air. In themost polluted cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, lives areshortened by up to two years because of poor air quality.

This is why it'simportant for people, especially young people, to realize how polluted our air isbecoming. With even minimal effort, we could make a bigdifference.

Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of death in the UnitedStates, and should be discouraged. It is better, though, to have someone smokeoutside than indoors, where there is less space for smoke todissipate.

Things that accumulate inside, such as soot and dust(especially in hot and humid temperatures) can also have a damaging effect onyour health. Make sure your house has ventilation; even opening a window helps.

Walk, bike or use public transport and carpool whenever and whereverpossible. Recycle everything you can. Involve your school in recycling, buyrecycled products to save trees and reduce the energy used to make products. Useenergy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. The Internet is an excellent way tolook for other ideas about trying to keep the air clean.

These may seemlike little things, but they're not when it comes to saving the environment.Imagine never again breathing fresh air or seeing green leaves, but insteadbreathing in countless pollutants released from speeding cars and cigarettesdangling from people's mouths. Everyone would be thinking what they could havedone differently.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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