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Where in the world is pollution (i.e., air pollution, land pollution, water pollution) a huge problem?

What is the level of commitment of governments (governmental bodies and local authorities) when it comes to reducing pollution? (How does this vary by country or region?)Plastic Bottles on Seashore

What type of oversight is there of the world's largest contributors to pollution?

What is the responsibility of industries that develop and sell products that are bad for the environment?  (For instance: What is the plastics industry doing to encourage and facilitate proper disposal or recycling?  What measures are being taken by the petroleum industry to lessen the chances of oil spills? ...)

If we consider a specific industry, how would we find information on how much waste (e.g., waste water) that industry produces, in general?  (How would we be able to find information on a particular company's waste disposal practices or waste management policy?)

If a business violates waste disposal regulations, what is the penalty?  What are the incentives for businesses to reduce the amount of waste they generate?

What are some of the waste management improvements in industry sectors that are now in practice?

Are municipal recycling programs adequate?  Do citizens have viable options for disposing their recyclables?

How much waste is the average person responsible for?  Do people dispose organic waste properly (i.e., use composting bins)?  Do people dispose household hazardous waste (e.g., batteries, paint, medication) properly (i.e., go to drop-off depots)?  Do people know which cleaning products, fluids, and solvents should not be poured down their drains (or into municipal sewers)?

How much of our "stuff" ends up in landfills? (What are some of the things people throw in garbage cans that in fact belong in recycling bins?)

Over-flowing Rubbish Bin with many people walking nearby.

Where does our waste (e.g., a municipality's waste) go?  If there is no landfill nearby--or there is no more room at the local landfill--where does our waste get shipped off to?

How much electronic waste ('e-waste'), specifically, is accumulating?  (Where do our disposed electronic products ('electronics') go?  Who does the dangerous job of dismantling products and handling often-hazardous components?)

How much do we know about the relative safety of drinking water sources?  What are some of the chemicals and toxins that may be found in drinking water sources?  (What level of chemical contamination is considered "safe"?)

Spotlight on some Popular or Technical Terms

Waste DiversionWaste ManagementWaste Disposal

Pollution PollutantsContaminationContaminants

Waste Industrial WasteHousehold WasteOrganic WasteChemical WasteElectronic Waste Hazardous WasteHazardous Household WasteToxic WasteToxic Compounds

•  Wastefulness Landfills Dumping* RecyclingReusingRepurposingUpcycling

Composting Bin

For these terms also go to The Environment | The Natural World | Natural Resources (major topic): Air PollutionSmogLand PollutionRadioactive SoilWater PollutionRadioactive Water

Note: For content on how rampant consumption relates to waste also see Consumption | Consumerism (major topic).

*Dumping, derived from the verb to dump, is "tipping" (verb="to tip") in British English.

All image credits:

  • Rubbish” is copyright (c) Tom Maisey and made available under an Attribution license. (Our note: Plastic Bottles by the Seashore, Paradise Beach, Gokarna, India)
  • Rubbish” is copyright (c) David Merrett and made available under an Attribution license. (Our note: Arnage, Pays de la Loire, France)