What causes air pollution, and how do airborne pollutants affect the health of the Bay?

Air pollution affects each of the 17.7 million people who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But it doesn’t just cloud the air we breathe. Airborne pollutants can also harm our land and water, fueling the growth of harmful algae blooms that create oxygen-depleted dead zones in the Bay. Randy Mosier from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) explains how our watershed is affected by the “airshed” that surrounds it, and how airborne pollutants fall onto our land and into our water.

Video Credits

Produced by
Steve Droter and Olivier Giron
“A Moment of Jazz” by Ancelin



Eric Sprague

When air pollution does come down, it will encounter many land uses.The most likely is forest, as it covers 56% of the watershed. This is good news, as forests generally retain 85% of the nitrogen they receive. Planting more trees will allow us to capture more air pollution. Forests are air buffers.

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