Air Quality

As late as the 1980s, air pollution regularly blanketed the metropolitan Washington region on hot and humid summer days. Breathing polluted air can pose health risks by causing irritation to eyes and throats. Pollutants like fine particles and ground level ozone can trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma. Children, older adults, and individuals with respiratory and heart conditions are especially susceptible to high levels of pollution. Air pollution also damages the natural environment such as trees, crops, wildlife, rivers, and other bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay. 

The region has made tremendous progress in its air quality thanks to more than a decade of actions at the federal, state, and local government levels, including new regulations to reduce emissions from power plants, passenger vehicles, and heavy duty diesel engines as well as programs to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy use.  

COG, through the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC), coordinates regional air quality planning activities, reviews policies, resolves policy differences, and adopts air quality plans for transmittal to the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. MWAQC members include area elected officials, environmental directors, and state air management and transportation officials. COG has also been providing regional air quality forecasts since the 1970s, and its Clean Air Partners program educates people on ways to reduce air pollution and protect their health. 

Resolution for Regional Air Quality Action Plan 

This resolution outlines development of regional air quality plans for ozone, fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide as well as regulatory and non-regulatory controls and initiatives to improve regional air quality and ensure public health protection.                                                                                                                                     

Gold Book: State and Local Government Initiative to Clean the Air

The Gold Book is a compendium of initiatives from local jurisdictions in the National Capital Region to reduce air pollution across sectors: green building, emissions reductions, alternative commute methods, and more.


News & Multimedia

Results: 98 found.
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    ACPAC seeks D.C. area residents interested in air quality and climate issues

    December 6, 2017

    Community leaders and interested citizens from across the metropolitan Washington region are invited to apply for membership on the Air and Climate Public...

  • News

    TPB approves project updates in region's long-range transportation plan

    October 18, 2017

    At its monthly meeting, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) approved...

  • News

    Q&A: Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee Chair Gretchen Goldman

    July 27, 2017

    Gretchen Goldman is the Chair of the Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC), which provides input on air quality, climate, and energy issues to the...

  • News

    Unhealthy Code Orange air quality forecast for metropolitan Washington

    July 20, 2017

    Ozone levels exceeded EPA air quality standards July 20 in metropolitan Washington, bringing the region’s number of unhealthy air days—those at “Code Orange”...

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    Clean Air Partners celebrates 20th anniversary

    June 20, 2017

    Regional air quality organization Clean Air Partners is celebrating 20 years of dedication to improving the greater Baltimore-Washington region’s air. The...

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    Hans Riemer: Protecting our air quality and health

    May 2, 2017

    Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee Chairman Hans Reimer urges continued collaboration to further reduce air pollution.

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    Regional plan outlines recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

    March 29, 2017

    COG’s Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC) developed a plan to meet the region’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. The third...

Results: 98 found.