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.
  • News

    Council of Governments Response to Newly Proposed EPA Ozone Standard

    November 26, 2014

    The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is carefully evaluating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to strengthen...

  • News

    Concerted Action Leads to Major Improvements in Region's Air Quality

    October 14, 2014

    Ground-level ozone concentrations in the Washington region exceeded healthy levels on just four days each of the last two summers, down from 43 such...

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    Q&A: David Snyder Vice Mayor City of Falls Church

    September 11, 2014

    David Snyder was first sworn in as a member of the City of Falls Church Council in July 1994 and has served as Mayor and Vice Mayor of the City. Snyder who...

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    Q&A: Phil Mendelson Chairman Council of the District of Columbia

    June 26, 2014

    Phil Mendelson was first elected to the Council of the District of Columbia in November of 1998 as an At-Large Councilmember. He served the District in that...

  • News

    2014 CLRP Update Enters Next Phase: Air Quality Conformity Analysis

    May 13, 2014

    The 2014 update to the region’s Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan has entered its next phase: the federally required Air Quality Conformity Analysis,...

Results: 101 found.