|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (August 2011)|
Pollution prevention describes activities that reduce the amount of pollution generated by a process, whether it is consumer consumption, driving, or industrial production. In contrast to most pollution control strategies, which seek to manage a pollutant after it is formed and reduce its impact upon the environment, the pollution prevention approach seeks to increase the efficiency of a process, thereby reducing the amount of pollution generated at its source. Although there is wide agreement that source reduction is the preferred strategy, some professionals also use the term pollution prevention to include pollution reduction.
With the ever-rising human population, pollution has become a great concern. Pollution from human activities is a problem that does not have to be inevitable. With a comprehensive pollution prevention program, most pollution can be reduced, reused, or prevented. The US Environmental Protection Agency works to introduce pollution prevention programs to stabilize the population growth as well as how to reduce and manage waste to prevent further pollution to the planet.
Human Population Numbers
With nearly seven billion people in the world, and the fact that the average person produces 4.4 pounds of waste each day, around a ton of waste every year, it is easy to see why pollution is such a huge problem (Recycling Revolution, 2010). In order to slow the growing levels of pollution, the human population needs to stabilize. Population numbers are rapidly increasing in developing countries. It is estimated that “the human population will increase by one billion people in the next decade” (Kinder, 2011, Sec. 1, Para. 1). The math is staggering when you add a ton a waste per person per year. Growth in these developing countries is partly due to developing countries governments telling their citizens that more numbers are needed to fill in the open spaces as the West has (Kinder, 2011). More people equals more natural resources used and waste created. The human population growth is the largest environmental problem the world faces.
Slowing the Population Growth
What can be done to slow the human population growth? “Experience shows that the most effective ways to slow human population growth are to encourage family planning, to reduce poverty, and to elevate the status of women." (Miller & Spoolman, 2009, p. 133). Such plans and strategies can be converted into policies to ensure sustainability. “Action plans and strategies can be developed to increase public understanding of how rapid population growth limits chances for meeting basic... recycling or reuse."
As an environmental management strategy, pollution prevention shares many attributes with cleaner production, a term used more commonly outside the United States. Pollution prevention encompasses more specialized sub-disciplines including green chemistry and green design (also known as environmentally conscious design).
- Atmospheric dispersion modeling, mathematical simulations of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere
- Source reduction
- Cleaner production
- Energy conservation
- Green chemistry
- Industrial Ecology
- Pollution control
- Waste management
- "Pollution Prevention". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Pollution Prevention (P2)." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed August 2011.
- United States National Pollution Prevention Information Center
- United States Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center
- National Pollution Prevention Roundtable Finds P2 Programs Effective (article)
- Pollution prevention directory: TURI - Toxics Use Reduction Institute
- The Southwest Network for Zero Waste - Center for Environmental Excellence
- Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center (P2RIC) - EPA Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
- The Environmental Sustainability Resource Center (ESRC) - P2 resources, news and information