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.
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    New Amtrak Switcher Latest Project to Further Clean D.C. Region's Air

    April 24, 2014

    When people think about things that add to air pollution power plants and large vehicles they see on the road may come to mind first. But off the road and...

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    Region Readies For New Emissions Standards

    December 19, 2013

    Joe Kruger Director for Energy & Environment at the Bipartisan Policy Institute detailed new proposed regulations for coal power plants to the...

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    For 2014 Get Involved in Regional Transportation Environmental Issues

    December 11, 2013

    Looking for a civic-minded New Year’s resolution? How about getting involved in transportation air quality or climate and energy planning in the D.C. region?...

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    Data Shows Major Air Quality Improvement in D.C. Region

    September 25, 2013

    Officials celebrate no Code Red days in the summer of 2013 but also stay focused on meeting EPA air quality standards.

  • News

    Regional Environmental Groups Hold First Joint Meeting

    July 24, 2013

    Officials discussed the links between water resources and climate and energy issues at the first joint meeting of the two regional policy committees. Fairfax...

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    Area Officials Approve Plan to Further Reduce Fine Particle Pollution

    May 23, 2013

    Action by Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee final step in getting recognition from EPA of the region’s progress in cleaning up the air.

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    Partnerships Bring Cleaner More Efficient Engines to Local Businesses

    April 23, 2013

    Diesel engines especially older ones generate a lot of pollutants. That black smoke you see pumping out of trucks buses and boats produces major negative...

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    Local State Innovations Provide Way to Meet Climate Goals

    April 12, 2013

    As frustrating as Congress’ unwillingness to take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be additional legislation may not even be necessary...

Results: 101 found.