Reducing Chicago Pollution


In the 2016, “State of the Air” report, the American Lung Association gave Cook County and all of the surrounding counties, except Will, an F in air quality. The Chicago area ranked as one of the worst in the nation for ozone, an air pollutant linked to respiratory diseases and other health problems (reebootillinois). I suggest that transportation policies be put in place to reduce air pollution in and around the city.

This policy would offer city wide tax cuts and reduced sales tax to citizens who purchase more eco-friendly as well as those using public transportation. Reducing the sales tax on public transportation tickets would encourage more people to use public transit instead of driving. It would not have to be much, but by having a monetary incentive, people will be more encouraged to take these steps towards reducing air pollution. The second policy would be to make the city safer and more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. People don’t feel safe cycling around the city out of fear of being hit by wild drivers. Let’s be honest, Chicago drivers are extremely aggressive, and it’s no wonder people don’t feel safe. By creating extra pathways specifically for cyclists and pedestrians, the number of people who chose this method of transportation over driving will increase. Reducing the pollution output of the city would benefit everyone by increasing the quality of air around the city, and making it less harmful to breathe.


illustation of how zone pollution can travel from urban to rural areas (

Climate change will make Chicago’s air pollution much worse in the future


2 thoughts on “Reducing Chicago Pollution

  1. I think rewarding commuters with tax incentives when using public transit is a great idea and can make a big difference in reducing fuel emissions. I’d like to also share another idea- what if we instead created a (low) flat rate public transit tax for all Chicago residents and make transit available free of charge for them? This could easily be programmed in our Ventra card system, where everyone will own their individual card for unlimited use throughout the year and all surplus of funds can go towards the city’s environmental programs. I would think the vehicle users who would need to pay up would convert to using the transit system more often to get their buck’s worth, making it a win-win situation for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like this idea because realistically, the only way to get people to do something is by giving them something they want. For example, when we were younger and we read a lot of books we would get rewarded with free six flags tickets, or when we answered a question right we would get candy for answering correctly. Unless people are actually aware of air pollution harming our health, people will not know the effects of too much carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Rewarding people with sales tax reductions is the perfect incentive for people to help the atmosphere and themselves.


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