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National Pollution Prevention Week kicks off in Martinsburg

September 16, 2012

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Little things mean a lot, especially when it comes to helping the environment.

Individuals have the power to make a difference environmentally — and it 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 today and runs through Sunday, 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 week’s theme is “Safer Chemicals for a Safer World,” a number of topics will be addressed throughout the event, she said.

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For example, an ongoing regional priority is the reduction of ozone levels in Berkeley and Jefferson counties. Thanks to a new Facebook page — Eastern Panhandle Clean Air Connection — people can get daily ozone updates, as well as related environmental and community information, Vincent said.

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

Berkeley County Council and Jefferson County Commission members formally approved a proclamation declaring Pollution Prevention Week locally, which signifies their support for addressing environmental issues, Vincent said.

Others also are helping, including Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School teacher Mark Barney and his leadership students, who will be spreading the word about Pollution Prevention Week.

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

Clint Hogbin, chairman of the Solid Waste Authority, said his organization supports the effort “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 Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority will host a tire-collection event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Berkeley Recycling Center, 637 Pilgrim St. in Inwood, W.Va.

Also on Saturday, literature will be distributed by Berkeley County Emergency Services and Homeland Security Director Steve Allen when he displays information for National Preparedness Month at Target in Martinsburg from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additionally, Roach Energy will be showing a message on its in-house television system in area ROCS stores.

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