Children in leavesPollution prevention (P2) is about preventing the creation of waste at the source rather than cleaning it up after it has been produced. The emphasis is on avoiding the creation of waste in the first place. There are many simple and easy changes that youth can make in their lifestyle to practice P2. Using reusable lunch containers rather than disposable materials like plastic wrap is one possible opportunity. Opting to use alternative modes of transportation including public transit, cycling, or walking contributes to reducing the production of greenhouse gas emissions, the leading cause of climate change. Also, choosing leisure activities that have less of an impact on the environment helps to prevent pollution. Examples could include skiing instead of snowmobiling, or rollerblading rather than four-wheeling. Making environmentally-responsible choices will help to protect the environment and ensure that our environment is sustainable for years to come.

Who Creates Pollution?

Who do you think creates all these different types of pollution? Pollution is created by industries, offices, schools, farms, cars, and even our homes. There are many things in our daily lives that we use to make our lives easier, safer and more comfortable – however these things also create pollution and waste that are bad for the environment. Cars, fast food, newspapers, air conditioning, household appliances (e.g., microwaves, hairdryers) and many other items all result in pollution. Pollution not only happens in your home but also on your street. Garbage spills from garbage cans and exhaust fumes from cars, trucks, buses.

Who Can Prevent Pollution?

Pollution prevention, and the benefits that result from it, do not just happen. It requires some planning and a lot of commitment from everyone involved. Pollution prevention is not something that is done only at factories or industries. Everyone should consider how much waste is created from what they use, buy and eventually throw away.

Most people don't need to be convinced that pollution is a problem. Everyone, from individuals to businesses to government has a role to play in finding solutions to pollution and other environmental problems.

As more people speak out, more businesses will listen and start to do their part in preventing pollution. Many companies have already developed new processes, equipment and practices that are helping to reduce the amount of chemicals they are using and emissions that they are releasing to the environment. As well, Environment Canada has been working with businesses, industries and communities to develop projects that will help decrease the amount of pollution that is being created.

However, businesses and governments are not the only sector that is responding to the growing concern. Many people have jobs that involve looking for ways to prevent pollution, including:

  • Scientists
  • Teachers
  • Factory workers and managers
  • Engineers

How Can We Prevent Pollution?

Surprisingly, pollution prevention is not difficult. Opportunities can be found at home, when you shop at the store, when you go to school or when you go to work. You can take steps every day to help stop pollution. Once you get in the habit of thinking about the pollution you are creating, you will soon recognize more and more opportunities for preventing it.

Youth have a very important role to play in educating the people around them. By sharing their knowledge with family and friends it will make P2 a reality in their lives. Challenge yourself to find a new way to reduce pollution each week or improve on something you have already started, like riding your bike more often, or walking to school every day instead of once or twice a week.

There are so many ways that youth can participate in environmental action. Check out these cool resources that are designed for youth.

Can't find what you are looking for?

In addition to these resources, the Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (CPPIC) database contains many other pollution prevention resources useful for youth. Access these resources either by conducting a keyword search or a sector search.