New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna says Jersey's air quality has improved remarkably over the years because of controls placed on power plants and vehicle emissions.

However, he adds, "We still have a lot of cars on the road, and cars are the primary contributor of the types of pollutants that create smog."

Smog is a pollutant that is formed when sunlight and certain pollutants and heat combine. It is a respiratory irritant that can bother some people and can adversely affect their health.

"It is really important that people take a few extra steps, and that is the point of 'Air Quality Awareness Week,' to make people realize that there are little things that they can do in their own personal habits that can make a difference and help reduce pollution that can harm other people's health."

He says everyone in the state can help fight air pollution by car pooling and keeping their car tuned.

Other tips:

— Don't idle your car. Turn off your car while waiting in line.

— Fill up your gas tank in the evening to cut back on evaporation.

— Turn off the lights when not using a room.

— Turn down your heat or turn off your air conditioning when not at home.

— In your backyard, make sure that your lawnmower is tuned up.

— Time to buy a new car? Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle.

"Every little bit helps, and we all really should be doing our part. That is why it is really important just to take a few minutes, sort of review your own lifestyle habits and see what you can do and make these part of your daily routine."

Hajna says these things will also save you money in the long run.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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