In 1990, pollution prevention was set as a priority in the American national objectives of environmental management through the Pollution Prevention Act (Weinberg, 2006). According to EPA, pollution prevention is decreasing waste before recycling, treatment, or disposal. Public pollution prevention programs are administered by the POTW (Publicly Owned Treatment Works), the largest municipal investment dedicated to environmental quality.
POTW Administered P2 Programs
The various types of programs administered are Voluntary, Regulatory, Enforcement, and market based programs (Bishop, 2000). Enforcement programs are aimed at enforcing a strategy that will achieve full compliance with environmental laws. An example of these programs is Septic System Pollution Prevention in Erie County, New York where people owning septic systems are compelled to maintain them properly so as to prevent underground water pollution (Bishop, 2000). Regulatory programs on the other hand are geared at reducing and controlling the amount of harmful substances in the environment. In this category, a substance that is commonly regulated is Mercury through the Mercury prevention and reduction programs. Each city has its own blue print on dealing with the pollution for instance: the Holland, Michigan mercury reduction plan, and Wiscosin Mercury Source book (Bishop, 2000).
Voluntary Programs are aimed at encouraging firms to contribute to pollution prevention on voluntary basis. An example of such an initiative is in Michigan where the pollution prevention program of 1998 was set up to assist farmers take a voluntary and proactive approach to reduce agriculture pollution while sustaining their business operations (Bishop, 2000). Market based programs are aimed at rewarding the public if pollution levels are kept at certain minimum levels. This is clearly demonstrated where POTW charge fees in accordance to how much industrial facilities and households discharge pollutants.
There are visible differences between, p2 programs administered by the private and those by the municipal council (POTW), where the former concentrate more in the regulatory and voluntary regulation (Boyd, 1998). This makes P2 programs by the private more costly, and efficient. Furthermore, private programs are also seen to integrate environmental management systems (EMS) making them more systematic and enduring in organizations (Weinberg, 2006). However, recent advancements have seen the private sector rely more on incentive-based partnerships from the government where costs in reducing pollution are lowered significantly.
Bishop L., P. (2000). Pollution Prevention: fundamentals and practice. New York: McGraw Hill. Pp. 56-72
Boyd, J. (1998). Searching for the Profit in Pollution Prevention: case studies in the corporate evaluation of environmental opportunities. Washington: EPA. Pp. 53-53
Weinberg, P. (2006). Environmental Law: cases and materials (3rd ed.). Maryland: University Press of America. Pp. 292-294