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Pollution prevention reduces the amount of pollution generated by a process, whether by industry, agriculture or consumers. In contrast to most pollution control strategies, which seek to manage a pollutant after it is emitted 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 increasing 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 reduce and manage waste. Reducing and managing pollution may decrease the number of deaths and illnesses from pollution-related diseases.
Human population numbers
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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).[full citation needed] One way to slow the growing levels of pollution would be to stabilize the human population. 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).[full citation needed] Growth in these developing countries is partly due to their governments telling their citizens that more numbers are needed to fill in the open spaces as the West has (Kinder, 2011).[full citation needed]
Some advocates think that people should have fewer children. “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).[full citation needed] 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.
- 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