How to protect your environment from pollution
The EPA has published a new document on environmental protection that sets out guidelines for protecting our environment from pollutants.
The document sets out to help the public understand what constitutes an environmental protection action and why it is important.
Here’s what you need to know.
What are pollutants?
Pesticides are chemicals that affect the body, mind and the environment.
They can be:Antibiotics and antimicrobial agentsChemicals that cause birth defects and cancerChemicals used to treat diseases such as cancer and malaria, as well as to treat animals and humansChemicals such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicidesFungicides used to control weedsThe main types of pollutants:FertilisersFertile land and agricultural landChemical fertilisersChemical pesticidesChemical and radioactive substancesRadiation-emitting materialsThe chemicals in the document include:• BPA, a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) that is used in plastic packaging• PVC and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in drinking water and water systems• polyvinylene glycol in paint and other products• phthalates, a chemical used in cosmetics• trichloroethylene (TCE), a compound used to make paint• ethylene glycerin, a substance used in some paintsThe EPA has been using the document since 2016 to set out guidelines on how the agency will enforce pollution laws and protect the environment, and now it wants to make it even more clear.
It says that if you have a “hazardous or hazardous waste-related activity” or if you “pose a risk to public health”, you are “required to consider, consider and consider again” when deciding what kind of action is necessary.
So it can mean for example that if a house has a leaky roof or a fire that threatens your life, you may need to consider what kind and how often you use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire, it says.
What kinds of actions are there?
Environmental protection actions can be for protecting a particular area or area that is “in need of protection” or for protecting “a particular natural resource”.
There are three types of protection actions:• protective use• mitigation• remediationThe document sets up two different categories of actions for each type of pollution.
Protective use actions protect a specific area or part of an area from pollution, whereas mitigation actions are “partly or fully remediated”.
The EPA says that “partially or fully” means that the action is not needed in a particular situation, but “remains relevant to the purpose of the action”.
“The general rule is that, if a protection action is fully remedied and it is still necessary in a situation, the EPA has concluded that it is in the public interest to pursue it further,” the document says.
There are five types of mitigation actions, including:• reducing greenhouse gas emissions• mitigating air quality• limiting the impact of climate change• increasing energy efficiencyThe document also says that, for example, a building may need an air quality improvement if the roof is leaking, but it may not be necessary if the building is being used to build other buildings.
The EPA recommends that “any action that minimises the impact” of pollution, such as by removing or reducing pollutants, is not required.
It also says “the EPA may consider” when a specific action is needed.
The first thing to understand is that protecting an area or a part of it is not necessarily a good idea.
It may not always be in the interest of all stakeholders to take a protective action.
The second thing is that a person can have an environmental action taken against them for a particular pollution.
So if a person who is doing something wrong and is causing an environmental harm are taking a protective step, that is a very strong argument against that action.
“For example, if someone is being harmed by a fire or the release of a pollutant into a river, then the person should take measures to protect their home,” the EPA says.
“The person should also consider the possible consequences of doing so, such the increased risk of the pollution or release of pollutants into a stream, river or lake.”
What are the risks of pollution?
The document has also put out guidance on how to deal with pollution that may cause health or other harms.
The risk of pollution is defined as the “effects of a chemical on human health or the environment that are not adequately explained”.
“For instance, pollution that affects a person’s health is not a risk that needs to be taken into account,” it says, but the risk of health problems that may be caused by pollution is “an important consideration” when determining whether or not to take protective actions.
What if I need to take action?
In general, the document advises that you should take action to protect an area and your community from pollution that could be harmful to you or others.
“It is important that you consider your options, and decide which action is more appropriate for your particular situation