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: 101 found.
  • Clean_Air_Partners_2017_184

    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...

  • SilverSpring_DanielLobo

    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.

  • News

    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...

  • News

    Regional group proposes recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

    January 18, 2017

    A Multi-Sector Working Group (MSWG) of subject matter experts from local governments and regional and state transportation, planning, and environmental agencies...

  • News

    Q&A: District of Columbia Councilmember Brianne Nadeau

    October 12, 2016

    District of Columbia Councilmember Brianne Nadeau serves as chairperson of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee staffed by COG. In this Q&A,...

  • News

    Air quality: metro D.C. records fourth straight summer with no Code Red days

    October 3, 2016

    Air quality continues to improve in metropolitan Washington, according to preliminary data released by COG. The region recorded just thirteen days in 2016 when...

  • D.C. wins c40 Award for Wind Power Purchase – Tommy Wells D.C. Department of Energy & Environment Director; Mark Chambers, D.C. Department of General Services Sustainability and Energy Associate Director; Eduardo Paes, C40 Chairman (Credit: c40)

    Regional Actions, Cooperation Will Help Support New Global Climate Goals

    December 17, 2015

    One hundred and ninety six countries reached a comprehensive climate agreement on Saturday, December 12 in Paris, France. This agreement calls for stopping the...

Results: 101 found.