Preventing Pollution Begins at Home

By Roy Crystal
Pollution Prevention Coordinator
EPA New England

Do you remember this first picture of the whole Earth seen from space – a beautiful round ball covered with oceans and clouds? Our home. The image of this fragile blue ball inspires us to want to take better care of the planet that we live on.

nasa dl blue marble AS17-148-22727

I work in EPA New England’s Assistance and Pollution Prevention Office. I was recently named the region’s pollution prevention coordinator. I am enthusiastic and excited to take on this new challenge. This blog is the first of a series of communications I hope to write on what we are doing here at EPA to prevent pollution – and what you can do at home or at work.

Did you know that this week, September 21 to 25, is Pollution Prevention Week? This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Pollution Prevention Act which states “it to be the national policy of the United States that pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible.” Under this law, EPA has awarded grants to many states, institutions, and businesses to carry out actions that prevent pollution. Our state partners have trained many businesses to change their practices to prevent pollution. For example, some auto body shops have switched from solvent-based to water-based paints, and some dry cleaners have eliminated the use of perchloroethylene and switched to wet cleaning. Many other businesses have reduced their use of water and toxic chemicals. Our office here in Boston administers these grants around New England; we also implement a wide range of other activities to prevent pollution, working closely with our states, interstate organizations such as the Northeast Waste Management Organization (NEWMOA), businesses, and communities. The opportunity to work collaboratively with all of these partners is what makes my new role so meaningful to me.

For more information on Pollution Prevention Week and what you can do, go to http://www2.epa.gov/p2week.

So – what can we do to protect the fragile blue marble we call home? Here are some ideas:

• Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – find ways to use fewer toxic materials and conserve resources,
• Look for Safer Choice products in stores and through distributors,
• Look for products with the Energy Star,
• Use water efficiently – get helpful hints from our Water Sense program,
• Soak Up the Rain that falls on your yards to prevent pollution generated from dog waste and fertilizers from running into your local rivers and streams, and
• Take steps to sustainably manage your food.

If you have thoughts to share with me on how we can work together to prevent pollution, feel free to leave a comment.

Yours for a greener Earth –

Roy

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