September 21

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Today in Science

Pollution Prevention Week

Pollution Prevention Week runs Sept. 17-23. The 2018 theme is "Reach Out and Be Part of the Solution."

Pollution doesn't just dirty the planet, threaten food and drinking water supplies, and waste resources. It's also a leading cause of illness and death worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people annually. A 2017 study reported that diseases driven by pollution, from asthma to heart disease, were responsible for more than 9 million premature deaths in 2015. Eighty percent of urban dwellers around the globe live in areas where the air quality is below the World Health Organization's guidelines. Also, more than 3 million people die each year from diseases spread in polluted water.

This week is an opportunity to emphasize and highlight pollution prevention and sustainability activities and achievements, expand current pollution prevention efforts, and commit to new actions. The EPA has suggested areas of pollution prevention focus might include community hazardous materials source reduction, sustainable food manufacturing, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction and energy efficiency improvements.

For instance, did you know that 8 million metric tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean each year?

Or that using a gas-powered lawnmower for an hour releases as many pollutants into the air as driving a car 45 miles?

Did you know Americans buy 29 million bottles of water each year, but only 13% of the bottles end up being recycled?

Or that every year 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted in American household leaks, the same amount of water that can supply more than 11 million homes.

Check out these Science NetLinks resources on pollution and how it can be prevented:

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