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In Celebration of World Environment Day

2011 June 2

By Michelle DePass

June 5 marks World Environment Day, reminding us that pollution knows no national boundaries; mercury is found in fish from the Gulf Coast to the Arctic, airborne particulates travel thousands of miles, and environmental impacts are felt by people across the globe, from Alaskan Native Villages to urban centers in Kenya and Indonesia. On World Environment Day, I am glad to be the messenger for EPA as we recognize efforts around the world to provide people with access to clean, safe, healthy places to live, work, learn and play.

EPA’s six international priorities aim to expand our partnerships in key areas so we can share the techniques we’re using here at home, and learn from our partners around the world. To commemorate World Environment Day, I am glad to highlight our partnerships and priorities in action:

To combat climate change, EPA is leading an initiative to help mitigate black carbon from diesel emissions in the Arctic; and is working with UNEP to help support community adaptation to strained water resources in South Asia.

Michelle DePass visiting with a local community in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Michelle DePass visiting with a local community in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Last year I visited communities in Jakarta, Indonesia where I saw children struggling to breathe in heavy smog conditions. To help, we’ve launched a program, Breathe Easy, Jakarta, which will serve as a model for how cities around the world can improve urban air quality.

To expand access to clean water, we are teaming up with the International Water Association to improve water and sanitation programs in urban areas across Africa.

We are working with Argonne Labs in order to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals by supporting the installation of EPA developed Mercury Capture Systems inside gold shops, which reduce exposure to mercury by up to 80 percent!

Administrator Jackson and Michelle DePass with their counterparts from Mexico and Canada at the 2010 CEC Council session in Guanajuato, Mexico

Administrator Jackson and Michelle DePass with their counterparts from Mexico and Canada at the 2010 CEC Council Session in Guanajuato, Mexico

We collaborated with Canada and Mexico to launch a new North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action through the Commission on Environmental Cooperation to support on-the-ground projects and our joint efforts help build strong environmental institutions and legal structures.

As part of a U.S. Government strategy to promote electronics stewardship, we are cleaning up e-waste with the United Nations University’s StEP Initiative by expanding our cooperation with China and nations in West Africa and improving data on e-waste flows from the US.

Linking our domestic and international efforts is essential to meet our goals for healthier communities and greener

Workers Administrator Jackson and Michelle DePass met at an electronic waste processing facility in Guiyu, China

Workers Administrator Jackson and Michelle DePass met at an electronic waste processing facility in Guiyu, China

economies in today’s globalized world. At EPA, we are proud to join our international partners on World Environment Day, to promote positive

About the author: Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs, US EPA.  Michelle DePass has spent her career working to support environmental progress here at home and around the world, at EPA she remains committed to expanding the conversation on environmentalism and ensuring access to clean, safe and healthy communities.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Jorge Gerônimo Hipólito permalink
    June 5, 2011

    The anxiety for the capital at any price and disintegrates hits life in general. The development is irrational, so there is nothing to celebrate.

  2. Johan permalink
    June 5, 2011

    We definitely need a green economy. Seems like we have reached the limits of growth based on oil and debt.

  3. doremindo permalink
    July 19, 2013

    This is a very nice post to remind everyone to love this earth, World Environment Day, everyone should know about this, and take a good care for their environment no matter where they’re. For us, for our future. :) Thank You

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