- Schools For a Sustainable Future
synergy vol 1 issue 1
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Protection Authority (EPA)
The above comment from Chairman of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Dr Brian Robinson, sums up the situation regarding environmental protection in the nineties.
After 25 years in existence, EPA has successfully established regulatory guidelines which control what was once known as 'gross' pollution from industry. But, now when we look back at the positive achievements of the past 25 years, we see that in fact that was the 'easy' bit!
The overriding issue we face today - whether we are talking about the greenhouse problem, clogged and polluted waterways, dirty beaches or smoggy skies, is the impact of each and every one of us on our natural environment. This is known as 'diffuse' source pollution. For example, over 70% of Melbourne's air pollution is caused by cars. We don't necessarily see an individual car as a gross polluter - but millions of cars together most certainly results in unhealthy air quality.
A second example is the fact that most of the pollution of our bays and rivers is the mixture of chemicals, organic matter and litter, which in very small amounts washes down gutters and stormwater pipes all over Melbourne's suburban streets, accumulating to significant amounts by the time it reaches the bay.
How do we deal with the fact that while none of us are probably 'gross polluters', each of us - polluting our little bit - is contributing to the urban environmental problems? Sustainability is the key - that is, thinking and acting in ways which don't put our natural environment under undue pressure.
EPA will continue to shape legislation, policy and co-operative programs which ensure that collectively industry and communities do not pollute, according to our State Environment Protection Policies. However, more and more its efforts will include education and support for initiatives which encourage people to take responsibility for thinking and acting sustainably at the individual and local level.
Schools For a Sustainable Future is an ideal program in that it support schools, links them with key institutions within society, and encourages a long-term approach, as well as a very hands-on approach to tackling environmental issues.
At this stage the EPA will sponsor two schools in 1998 to work on environmental projects. In view of our core business areas, we would like these projects to:
In particular we will be considering the monitoring of air quality and people's motor vehicle usage; and how local industry and small businesses can develop environment improvement plans.
EPA invites expressions of interest to:
If you would like to discuss your project idea and how it could be best developed to mesh with EPA requirements, please contact:
Melinda Nutting at
Last Updated on 21st February 2000
© 2000 Schools for a Sustainable Future