Pollution Prevention Projects

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Economic tools needed by companies to make decisions about funding pollution prevention projects

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Economic tools needed by companies to make decisions about funding pollution prevention projects


This paper will highlight an important issue i.e. pollution which is causing harmful effects on the overall environment of Earth. Pollution has been on constantly rising in different parts of the world, many states have started taking this concern seriously as it is causing severe environmental and ecological damages. Pollution can be defined as an introduction of impurities in the natural environment that originates disorder, harmful effects to the ecological system, and instability to any living organism. Pollution can be in any form, it can take shape of energy, chemical substances, heat, light or noise. The elements of pollution, known as pollutants, are external elements or energies which when occur more than their natural level are considered contaminants (Sikdar & Diwekar, 1999).

This research paper will shed light on economic tools for pollution prevention projects, how this problem can be potentially addressed and the steps which should be implemented to counter this problem. The paper has made use of the literature review for an enhanced understanding of the topic and potential solutions. The segment wise distribution of the paper will discuss the issue in great detail.


In order to counter pollution, an act has been passed named as Pollution Prevention Act in 1990. According to this law any source or practice that eliminates the creation of pollution through efficient usage of resources, such as raw materials, water and energy, or preservation of natural resources will include in pollution prevention projects.

Before passing of Pollution Prevention Act, industry in general and businesses in specific tended to focus on complying with environmental laws requiring the control of pollution already created. Such an approach resulted in an emphasis on technological fixes that could be applied at “end of pipe.” For example, adding an electrostatic precipitator to remove particulates from flue gases is a pollution control approach. Attempting to reduce the amount of particulate created by changing combustion times, temperatures, fuel mix, or maintenance schedules is a pollution prevention approach (Spoolman & Miller, 2011).

The focus on pollution control rather than prevention was not solely a result of industry preference, but reflected both the nature of environmental laws and regulations and the training of environmental regulators. Laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, and their predecessors at both the federal and state levels were all based on pollution control logic. They relied on “command and control” approaches, such as establishing limits on the amount of pollution that could be emitted and as a result regulators processing.

A few firms had begun to experiment with going “beyond compliance” by voluntarily reducing pollution more than they were legally required to, primarily through process improvements rather than by adding more stringent pollution control technologies. As they did so, many were surprised to discover that they not only reduced pollution, but saved money, largely due to reduced expenditures for raw material ...
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