Press Release

BALTIMORE (April 26, 1999) - The Ozone Pollution Map, developed by the Maryland Department of the Environment MDE) and the American Lung Association of Maryland, has been selected as a semifinalist in the 1999 Innovations in American Government Awards Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The map, which was developed in 1995, uses real-time air quality data from air monitors to generate a map for television broadcasts. The map helps to educate the public about poor air quality and its impact on public health. Viewers receive accurate and current information about poor air quality.

WJZ-TV of Baltimore (Channel 13) and WRC-TV of Washington, D.C. (Channel 4) were the first stations to use the map. The value of the map was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is now developing the Ozone Pollution Map for nationwide use.

During the 1998 ozone season, which runs from May to September, 21 states and Washington, D.C. provided real-time ozone data so that EPA could broadcast the Ozone Pollution Map over the World Wide Web. In 1999, the project will increase to 34 states and will include every state east of the Mississippi River, and Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and parts of California. The EPA’s goal is to generate maps and broadcast them for the entire continental United States. The Weather Channel also is planning to broadcast the Ozone Pollution Map this summer over its cable television network.

The Innovations in American Government Awards Program recognizes outstanding achievements in programs and projects that significantly benefit the lives of American citizens. The Ozone Pollution Map was one of 98 programs selected from an initial pool of more than 1,600 applicants. Finalists will be selected in May 1999 and could receive a $20,000 Ford Foundation award for replication and dissemination of their programs. Winners will be selected in October 1999 and would be eligible to receive an additional $80,000 in award money.