This week, Councilmember McDuffie celebrated Air Quality Awareness Week. Every May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dedicates a week to increase awareness about the importance of air quality and how it affects our health. On Thursday, Councilmember McDuffie joined the Department of Energy & Environment, EPA, Empower DC, and the Ivy City community for a community walk. Participants learned about the history of environmental inequities in Ivy City and walked by the sites of several major emissions sources including bus lots, a railyard, and manufacturing and auto repair facilities. Community members were able to see the results of handheld air quality monitors that recorded poor air quality data at these sites in real time.
Ward 5 is home to the majority of the District’s industrial land use sites and Black communities disproportionately suffer health consequences due to the resulting poor air quality. As a lifelong resident and Councilmember of Ward 5, Councilmember McDuffie has long championed and fought for environmental justice on behalf of District residents. Here are a few of his environmental accomplishments:
- Created the Industrial Land Transformation Task Force to modernize industrial land use in Ward 5. The task force developed a study and strategy to create jobs, community amenities, and better environmental outcomes for District residents.
- Secured funding to close the W Street Trash Transfer Station through eminent domain, to provide on-demand air quality testing for Ward 5 residents, and accepted funds to the Committee on Business and Economic Development to expand the Solar for All program, which cuts residents’ energy burden in half by providing solar benefits to low- to middle-income District households.
- Advanced racial equity and environmental justice in the Comprehensive Plan Framework to ensure that communities of color are not oversaturated with landfills, hazardous waste sites, and other industrial facilities.
- Increased fines and enforcement on solid waste facilities in the District.
- Established a Ward 5 Environmental Justice Task Force to convene community stakeholders and District agencies to combat environmental injustices through equitable environmental policies, budget choices, and regulations.
We encourage you to regularly check the Air Quality Index to learn more about air conditions in your area and how to better protect your health.
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