July 16, 2018
Politics & Opinion
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Environmental Health Issues

Derek Fink
Derek Fink's picture
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August 22, 2017

I hope this has been a very fun and eventful summer for you and your families as much as it has been for me and my family. The warm summer months bring many environmental issues (and complaints) to my office’s attention. In this article, I would like to explain some of the environmental health issues that we are having in the county, including the plan to install air quality monitoring equipment near the Wagner Generating Station by this fall.

Mosquitoes are one of the more annoying insects we have to deal with in the summer months. Though they may seem like just an annoyance, these insects can carry many types of serious diseases that can be harmful to humans and animals. We all have heard of the Zika virus in the last few years, but we should also be aware that mosquitoes can carry other serious diseases such as malaria and West Nile virus.

The county is working with the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s mosquito control program to provide surveillance, larvicide application and mosquito-spraying services throughout affected areas in the county. The county and its officials can do only so much to curb the mosquito population; average citizens need to do their part as well. Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water. Please inspect your property for possible breeding sites and eliminate any containers that could hold water during the spring summer and fall months.

Another problem that some of our communities have been having lately are rats. Every homeowner should take proper precautions to keep rats and other rodents off of their property. These precautions include securing all trash in containers with tight-fitting lids, cleaning up pet waste and pet food in a timely manner, eliminating tall weeds and vegetation, and storing materials 12 inches above the ground surface and away from exterior walls. One of the main problems people face is not properly securing pet waste after it is picked up. Make sure you securely dispose of pet waste, as it is a favorite food of rats. Also, even if you don’t think you are having a rat problem, check your property on a regular basis for rodent activity. If you need more information on how to handle a rodent problem, visit www.aahealth.org.

The final environmental issue I want to cover involves the plan to install air quality monitoring equipment near the Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station. In July 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that a 17-mile area surrounding the generating station was exposed to unhealthy levels of sulfur dioxide. The Maryland Department of Energy disagreed with this assessment, saying the agency used data from 2013 through 2015 when the plant used a type of coal with higher sulfur content. At the urging the Greater Pasadena Council, myself, the county council and our state representatives, the Maryland Department of the Environment agreed to set up the monitoring stations by the fall. With this monitoring equipment, the county and state will finally be able to tell if the air is truly safe around this plant. As always, the health and safety of our constituents should be our first priorities as public servants.

If you have any questions or concerns about these issues or policy changes, feel free to call my office at 410-222-6890 ext. 113, and enjoy the final days of summer!

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