The U.S. Postal Service has joined the state-federal Bay restoration effort, encouraging its 1,500 post offices throughout the watershed to use environmentally friendly practices to cut down on pollution. It is marking the event with a special pictorial cancellation that will be available through Dec. 15.

"The Postal Service is proud to become a partner to protect the Chesapeake Bay," said Charles E. Bravo, manager of environmental management policy for the U.S. Postal Service. "Signing on as a partner in the Chesapeake Bay Program reinforces our nationwide commitment to being a good environmental neighbor in each of the 40,000 communities we serve from coast to coast."

Post offices throughout the watershed will be encouraged to promote public awareness of the Bay restoration in their communities and to incorporate practices at their facilities that will reduce pollution. For example, post offices will be encouraged to adopt BayScapes landscaping techniques, which reduce the need for fertilizer and pesticides that might otherwise reach the Bay and its rivers.

The post office's vehicle maintenance facilities in the Bay area will be encouraged to use pollution-prevention plans, including using oil-water separators and installing curbing to minimize storm runoff.

When washing vehicles and engine parts, the maintenance facilities will be encouraged to use less toxic chemicals that break down more easily in the environment, Bravo said. A number of facilities are already recycling antifreeze and using reconstituted motor oil, he said.

The Postal Service implemented its anti-pollution efforts in the Northeast about a year ago. Bravo said the Postal Service has reduced its use of 17 hazardous chemicals by 50 percent nationwide and has converted about 7,000 vehicles to compressed natural gas.

The Postal Service also recycles about 1 million tons a year of paper, cardboard, plastic and metals, as well as different liquids and motor oil, he said.

The special pictorial cancellation designed to mark the event is available through Dec. 15 by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope t

Annapolis Main Post Office
1 Church Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401-9998