National Pollution Prevention Week gets off to clean start

MARTINSBURG – Making a difference for the environment doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or time-consuming.

That’s a big part of the message behind Pollution Prevention Week, which kicks off Sept. 17 and runs through Sept. 23, according to Region 9 Clean Air Connection Program Coordinator Jenni Vincent.

“It’s an exciting time because state environmental officials tell us that no other community in West Virginia has observed this national week before, but lots of folks in Berkeley and Jefferson counties have really gotten behind making citizens aware of this important message,” Vincent said.

Although the overall P2 Week theme is “Safer Chemicals for a Safer World,” a number of topics will be addressed throughout the event, she said.

For example, an ongoing regional priority is reducing of ozone levels in Berkeley and Jefferson counties. And thanks to a new Facebook page – Eastern Panhandle Clean Air Connection – residents can get daily ozone updates as well as related environmental and community information, Vincent said.

The page will also be used daily to convey P2 information such as chemical substitutions for home use, how to make less toxic cleaning supplies and alternative yard care solutions.

Both Berkeley County Council and Jefferson County Commission members formally approved a proclamation declaring Pollution Prevention Week locally – an important move since this signifies their support for addressing environmental issues, Vincent said.

Others are also doing their part to help, including Hedgesville High School teacher Mark Barney and his leadership students who will be spreading the word about P2 week.

The Shepherd University Environmental Organization will also sponsor an informational table on Wednesday, while the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority is partnering by allowing a literature distribution to take place at the Grapevine Road Recycling Center on Saturday.

BCSWA Chairman Clint Hogbin said his organization supports P2 Week “because we believe there are dozens of easy things we can all incorporate into our daily routine to renew our efforts to protect the environment and improve our quality of life.”

For example, the BCSWA will host its final tire collection event on Sept. 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Berkeley Recycling Center, 637 Pilgrim St., Inwood.

Saturday will also include a literature distribution with Berkeley County Emergency Services and Homeland Security Director Steve Allen when he exhibits information for National Preparedness Month at Target in Martinsburg from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additionally, Roach Energy will be showing a special message on their inhouse television system found in area ROCS stores.

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