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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: environment

By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Baltimore County Department of Public Works, Recycling Division

Throughout his career with Baltimore County, the late County Executive Kevin Kamenetz demonstrated a steadfast commitment to protecting the environment. He understood that governments, businesses and citizens must work together to find solutions that help us live and conduct business more sustainably.

With the help of many other county employees, County Executive Kamenetz built a legacy of environmental stewardship that will have an impact on our region for generations to come.

  • Almost two billion dollars invested in water and sewer projects to provide safe, clean drinking water and responsible waste management.
  • More than $137 million in stream restoration, shoreline stabilization, reforestation and other water quality projects to preserve and restore the County’s natural infrastructure, including nearly 50,000 trees planted on 466 acres.
  • Building a new single-stream recycling facility.
  • Establishing energy efficiency and renewable energy policies to reduce the County’s carbon footprint.
  • More than $68 million invested in new parks, recreation facilities and community centers.
  • Seventeen Small Watershed Action Plans developed to clean up streams and rivers and send healthier waters to the Bay.
  • Twenty four TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Implementation Plans developed in nine county watersheds to reduce waterway pollutants such as trash, bacteria, sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen and mercury.
  • Creating the environmentally-focused Clean Green Baltimore County Facebook page.

Baltimore County has earned a number of recent awards for its environmental programs, including:

  • National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA Awards every year from 2010 to 2017
  • Maryland Recycling Network’s Outstanding Government Leadership Award
  • National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge
  • National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for the County’s Single Stream Recycling facility
  • Maryland Recycling Network Extraordinary Achievement Award for the Clean Green Baltimore County Facebook page

By his leadership and actions, County Executive Kamenetz saw a sustainable future for our county and state, with cleaner air and water, green open spaces, abundant forests, healthy wildlife and a thriving Chesapeake Bay.

He also had faith that we, the citizens, employees and institutions of Baltimore County, would do our part to make this vision a reality.

The question is, what can we do today to make ours a cleaner, greener county? Find tips and resources at





By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Baltimore County Department of Public Works

Looking at the Earth from above, we get perspective on our changing, living planet. Astronauts understand this better than any of us, given their firsthand experience seeing Earth from space. They call this the Overview Effect.

East full disk image, GOES 16 satellite |
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

When astronaut and Cockeysville native Reid Wiseman accepted a Hero Pin from County Executive Kamenetz in 2015, I asked him about experiencing the Overview Effect. His response was profound.

“When I went to space, and you start to look out, you can watch sands from the Sahara Desert get blown all the way over to Brazil. You watch a hurricane. You see flooding. You see a dam.

"You can see cities really well, they just look like smudges; but you start to realize that the Earth is far more alive than any of us.

“This machine right here has been going a long time – before we came – and it will be going a long time after we leave. It’s our home.

“The Earth is like our parents – parents for every human being that’s ever walked on the planet, every animal. So that was really what I took away. This machine we live on is much more alive than any of us in this room.”

The idea of Earth as a living machine has stayed with me since that day. If only everyone could have the opportunity to experience it, perhaps we would be inspired to put in the hard work required to leave behind a livable planet for future generations.

It’s unlikely that you or I will ever get the chance to see Earth from space, but what we do have is a way to simulate the experience – with virtual reality (VR), and you can do it without spending a dime.

Here’s an Earth Month challenge – make your own cardboard smartphone VR viewer for free. You can find tutorials online, as well as a downloadable VR viewer kit offered by Google at no charge. You probably already have the materials you need sitting around the house or in the recycling bin. After it’s assembled, get out your smartphone and download a free app.

Get ready for a whole new worldview from 117 million feet!

Get involved in Earth Month. Baltimore County is hosting events including Earth Month Pop-Ups in the parks and an Earth Day Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Take action all year long.  Participate in cleanups, plantings and other events to protect and connect with the land, waters and wildlife that make our Chesapeake home special.

By Richard Keller, Recycling Marketing & Promotional Manager, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management

Here’s something simple you can do to live a greener life. Before you buy a product, think about a product’s environmental effect. How was it manufactured? How will it be used? How will it be disposed, reused or recycled?

Whether you call it green purchasing, precycling or environmentally preferable purchasing, buying green can make a difference in the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Buying green can cut energy use, reduce the amount of materials that are disposed, limit natural resource consumption, and reduce generation of greenhouse gases.

Before you buy, consider choosing these types of environmentally preferable products:

  • Recycled content products
  • Remanufactured products
  • Products that reduce waste or use less packaging
  • Products that need less energy to manufacture or use less energy in daily use
  • Less toxic or less hazardous products
  • Reusable and recyclable products
  • Re-used products from thrift stores, charity stores, and flea markets. You can get more information from the Baltimore County Reuse Directory.

We make purchases based on price, quality, availability and brand loyalty. Add environmental impact to this list the next time you make a purchase.

We’ll all breathe a little easier.

Revised September 11, 2017