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WHAT IS AIR POLLUTION?  >  Industry and Air Pollution

Industry and Air Pollution

Industry is another major contributor to air pollution in Victoria.

Despite continued growth in the region's population and economic activity, air pollution caused by industry has reduced since the mid 1970s.

Question

How has industry achieved this goal?

Answer

By introducing better technology and industrial practices which enabled compliance with standards set by EPA Victoria. Today, EPA is providing support and direction for companies to adopt cleaner production technology and practices.

The early years

Since 1973, companies in Victoria with the potential to be significant polluters have been subject to restrictions set out in licences. These licences restrict emissions according to criteria set out by State environment protection policies. The licensing process established specific controls over emissions of pollution for the first time, however, this approach tended to focus too heavily on reducing pollutants after they had already been generated in the factory.

In 1985, EPA introduced works approvals. The works approval process obliges certain types of industrial premises identified in regulations to obtain EPA approval prior to commencing specified works or construction. Works approvals help ensure that industries stick to the rules and technology that reduces pollution.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, EPA realised that pollution control could be more effective if greater attention was paid to the cause, rather than the solution, after all, prevention is better than cure! It set about working with industry to avoid or minimise the creation of waste in the first place. This principle, known as cleaner production, increased the focus on how production systems could be made more efficient or cleaner to avoid or minimise the creation of waste and reduce energy consumption.

Cleaner Production

Since 1985, the adoption of cleaner production strategies by small to medium-sized enterprises has been promoted through the Cleaner Production Partnership Program, initiated by EPA with support from the Australian Chamber of Manufactures. The program provides financial and other assistance to help companies introduce cleaner production technology and prepare waste management plans and environmental management systems.

Significant progress has been made in reducing emissions from large industrial premises due to adoption of cleaner production technology and practices.

Some discussion questions

Can you think of any other ways we can encourage the adoption of cleaner production methods by small to medium-sized enterprises?

Think about companies in your own region, what are they doing to combat air pollution?

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EPA Victoria, 200 Victoria St, Carlton, Melbourne - 3053
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