How to Cure Pollution


When environmental disasters occur, government and cleanup agencies frequently need volunteers to assist in bringing the environment as close to its original state as possible. Writing to public officials about environmental concerns, or addressing them in person, will make environmental issues more important in the community. In addition to volunteering and political acts, the most effective strategy for curing pollution is prevention. The choices you make at home related to which products you purchase and how you dispose of those products will have a significant collective impact on the amount of pollution in the environment.

For the Home

  • Purchase non-toxic household products whenever possible. If you aren't sure which products contain harmful substances, approach the manager of your hardware store, drug store or grocery store and ask which products are non-toxic. Avoid products containing sodium hypochlorite, petroleum distillates, ammonia, formaldehyde or CFCs.

  • Dispose of toxic household products properly if you purchase them. Don't pour paint, used oil or harsh cleaners down the drain, and don't burn plastics or styrofoam. Call the local sanitation or environmental health department and learn the times and locations of your neighborhood's hazardous waste pick-up sites.

  • Discard used motor oil at your mechanic's garage. Bring used cooking oil to a local restaurant that disposes of its oil waste in an environmentally friendly way.

  • Conserve energy by turning off lights when you're not in a room. Set your heater's thermostat to a lower temperature when you go to bed. Air-dry your laundry during warmer months.

  • Fix leaky faucets, toilets and shower heads. Add a toilet dam or brick to your toilet tank to save up to four gallons of water for every flush.


  • Learn when local officials hold public meetings and attend. Encourage your officials to support recycling, environmentally friendly regulations and public awareness about environmental issues such energy and water conservation.

  • Volunteer for local clean-up activities. Ask about beach clean-ups, tree plantings and other events. Encourage friends and neighbors to get involved.

  • Support businesses that source local products and dispose of their waste properly. For a large list of environmentally friendly organizations, consult Newsweek's Green Rankings (see Resources).

  • Report polluters who aren't complying with local and federal regulations. Join an environmental group that monitors industrial-waste disposal.


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