WHO WE ARE
The Chesapeake Watershed & Air Quality Initiative is a public education and outreach program developed through the Region 9 Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council to help reduce air pollution in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, as well as keep the Chesapeake Bay watershed safe and clean.
The reduction of airborne nitrogen loads, ground-level ozone and particulate matter are the primary focus of the Chesapeake Watershed & Air Quality Initiative.
Ground-level ozone pollution is the primary component of smog and is harmful to our health. Particulate matter is a mixture of very small solid particles and liquid droplets in the air. These particles can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems.
By reducing ground-level ozone and particulate matter, we improve the quality of the air we breathe.
Air pollution can also harm our land and water. What goes up must come down, and pollution released into the air—by cars, trucks, gas-powered lawn tools, power plants and other sources—will fall back to the earth’s surface, where it could wind up in our waterways.
While nitrogen is an important nutrient for vegetation, too much has an acidifying effect that can destroy biodiversity and toxify our waterways.
How To Help
On The Road
Ride your bike. Vehicles on the road create more than 25% of all air pollution nationwide.
Refuel in the evening on hot days. Refueling during cooler periods prevents gas fumes from heating up and creating ozone.
Care for your car. Regular maintenance and checking tire inflation can improve gas mileage and could reduce your car’s emissions by more than half.
Share a ride. Carpooling or taking mass transit just once or twice a week reduces traffic and pollution, and saves money.
Trip chain. Combine errands into one trip. Starting a car after it has been sitting for more than an hour pollutes up to five times more than when the engine’s warm.
In The Home
Avoid consumer spray products; instead, choose solids, sticks and gels which are environmentally friendly.
Look for the Energy Star label when buying home or office equipment.
Consider setting your thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in the winter.
Burn only dry, seasoned wood in your wood stove or fireplace.
In The Yard
Do garden chores gasoline free; use electric-powered yard tools.
Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste.
Avoid burning trash. Many items that are burned in a burn barrel can often be recycled. The unknown materials could also endanger your family, pets, and neighbors.
Test your soil. Testing your soil will determine the amount of fertilizer required to keep your plants healthy.
Do not over-fertilize; only actively growing plants can absorb the nutrients. Adding nutrients in an environmentally sensitive manner will reduce the chance of soil and nutrient runoff.