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Ways to Prevent and Reduce Air, Water, and Land Pollution

Lory, a development economist, did research projects on energy/anti-pollution topics for a national research agency in the Philippines.

Pollution: What Can I Do?

Pollution: What Can I Do?

This entire planet is our home. We are the only species that systematically destroy our own habitat.

— Marianne Williamson

Pollution Is Our Problem

Pollution prevention is a major global concern because of its harmful effects on people's health and the environment. Because we are all inhabitants on Earth, everyone is a stakeholder, and every person has something to contribute to advance effective pollution prevention and awareness. Environmental protection is a natural extension of caring for ourselves, loving our children, and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

If We Heal the Earth, We Heal Ourselves

We should all, therefore, accept personal responsibility for the success of our local environmental protection programs by actively participating in making our atmosphere pollution-free. And, although we can each help combat pollution in our immediate environments, we can do more by working to change legislation and policy on a larger scale.

Averting the onset of pollution in any area, be it in air or water or on land, could be the simplest preventive solution. If there are no pollutants, there will be no pollution. And yet, this is easier said than done. Certain bad habits are entrenched and industrial development as we know it seems to involve an expectation of pollution. Even the most simple preventive approaches are often quite complicated, expensive, and difficult for a small business to implement.

Still, there are small changes we can make on the individual level that make a difference, both in the short and long term.


NASA reports that in the next ten months, the earth will get hotter by four degrees. Glaciers are melting at rapid rates. Our climate is changing drastically and it's getting worse.

Ways to Prevent Pollution

Every action or inaction of any person has an effect on the environment—be it good, neutral, or negative. By becoming aware and doing the right thing, we choose to be part of the solution. Here are some things you can do:

Stop Smoking

  • Stop smoking or don't throw your butts on the ground. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and contain extremely toxic soluble chemicals. One butt thrown on the ground can remain for up to 25 years, leaking chemicals like arsenic, ammonia, acetone, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, lead, and toluene into the environment.

Use Eco-Friendly Transportation

  • Drive an electric or hybrid car, or at least choose one that uses unleaded gasoline.
  • Keep your car in good running condition to avoid emissions.
  • Share a ride or carpool.
  • Choose to walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible.

Dispose of Waste Responsibly

  • Never use open fires to dispose of waste, especially chemicals and plastic.
  • Adopt the 3 Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • Use sustainable, reclaimed, or recycled building materials.
  • Start composting leaves and clippings from your yard and food scraps from your kitchen to reduce waste while improving your soil.
  • Take care to properly dispose of your pet's waste.

We have a moral and spiritual bond to the planet that God made the source of all living things that our own survival depends upon. Many urban dwellers have lost their spiritual bond to the earth when they lose a connection to the natural environment. They can lose their inner peace too.

— Father Shay Cullen

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Choose Renewable Sources of Energy

  • Use the power supplied abundantly and freely by wind and sun. Hang your laundry to dry to minimize your use of gas or electricity, and open a window or put on a sweater rather than turning on the air conditioner or heater.
  • Consider investing in solar panels or other renewable energy sources for your home or business.

Promote Conservation as a Consumer

  • Buy local foods and goods. In this manner, the use of fuel for transporting goods can be minimized.
  • Look around your house or place of business for ways you could conserve water.
  • Use and buy products that are eco-friendly or made with biodegradable materials. Avoid plastic.
  • Always bring a bag when you shop.

One person alone cannot save the planet’s biodiversity, but each individual’s effort to encourage nature’s wealth must not be underestimated.

— United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Avoid Disrupting the Ecosystem

  • Get rid of your lawn: Plant bee-friendly, drought-tolerant, native plants instead.
  • Plant more trees. They clean the air, provide oxygen, and beautify your surroundings.
  • Say a big "NO" to pesticides and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Make Reducing Pollution a Community Goal

  • Join an Earth Day celebration (every April 22nd), and consider making its tenets an everyday practice.
  • If you own a business, make sure you have considered the environmental impact of your business practices. If you work for someone else, take the time to assess your company's environmental impact and try to implement positive change.
  • Do not litter. Better yet, start an anti-litter campaign to educate your community.
Infographic: What you can do to help stop pollution.

Infographic: What you can do to help stop pollution.

How Will You Pledge to Reduce Pollution?

Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.

— Pope Francis in Laudato

Stopping Pollution Doesn't Have to Be Overwhelming

The good news is that there is hope. The seeming insurmountability of the situation does not stop environmental protection advocates from pursuing their goals for a pollution-free earth. Kudos to Greenpeace and similar organizations all over the world as they bear the torch.

The daunting size of the problem shouldn't stop you, either. Everyone can help by educating themselves and doing what they can to adopt good and healthy practices, starting with the items on this list. It is also important that we share and help raise awareness about what we know.

By doing what you can, educating yourself, and sharing your awareness, you can make a significant impact.

What do you think?

The pollution of the planet is only an outside reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space. [...] Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is, just as you are responsible for the planet. As within, so without. If humans clear inner pollution, then they will also cease to create outer pollution.

— Eckhart Tolle

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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