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Individuals can undertake a wide range of pollution prevention activities that offer environmental and economic benefits. By changing the way we use products and resources we can prevent pollution and often save money in the process. The following activities in the home help consumers prevent pollution in their communities.
Reduce driving time. Cars are big contributors to air pollution problems. Consider other possibilities whenever feasible: carpool, bike, walk, or use mass transit as part of your daily routine. If you drive, buy an energy-efficient automobile and keep its engine well tuned.
Be careful with auto waste. Used oil can contaminate water supplies; used auto batteries contain lead, lead sulfate, and sulfuric acid, which can leak into soil. Take used oil, auto batteries, and auto tires to a recycling center or an appropriate disposal facility.
Plant trees and shrubs. Trees in your yard may reduce heating and cooling costs and curbs soil erosion. In addition, they beautify your property and may increase its value. Be sure to compost leaves, grass, and brush clippings and apply only as much fertilizer as needed.
Be an environmental consumer. The following items will help you be an environmental consumer:
Limit household hazardous waste. Purchase products containing toxic ingredients only when you cannot avoid using them and buy only as much as you need. Store hazardous products and materials carefully. Recycle unwanted hazardous products such as oil-based paint or find alternative uses.
Be careful with pesticides. Apply pesticides such as insecticides and herbicides carefully if they must be used. When using pesticides in or around your home, purchase only the amount needed and follow the instructions on the package carefully. Whenever possible, use natural pest-control methods rather than chemical pesticides. Reduce run-off by maintaining ample grass cover and shrubs.
Be aware of the dangers of lead to children. Keep kids away from surfaces covered with lead-based paint and renovations of older buildings. Test your drinking water to be sure it does not contain harmful levels of lead or other contaminants.
Reduce smoke, radon, asbestos and other indoor-air pollutants. Many stores sell test kits for measuring radon levels. A reading above 4 picocuries per liter could indicate a problem. When combined with radon, tobacco smoke further increases one's chance of developing lung cancer. Make your environment a smoke-free environment.