Athens Is Looking Toward the Future

by Anna Birk

The beginning of the academic year not only means an influx of students in Athens, but also a higher output of waste. Water waste and trash waste are two main issues contributing to pollution in the city of Athens.

To tackle this issue head-on, the United States Environmental Protection Agency passed the Pollution Prevention Act in 1990. This was intended to combat the mass amounts of pollution generated by the United States annually.

Pollution prevention is defined on the official EPA website as,  “reducing or eliminating sources of pollution to prevent damage to the environment while eliminating the need for costly controls and cleanup.”

This year, in order to bring awareness to this issue, the EPA is highlighting solutions for pollution September 16 through September 22, and Athens is doing the same. 

In June and December of 2017, Athens and Ohio University obtained a sewage permit from the state of Ohio. The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS4, requires that education be provided to the citizens of the city. One way citizens can become educated about pollution prevention, or P2, is through Pollution Prevention Week. 

For the third year of Pollution Prevention week in Athens, the spotlight will be on water and trash pollution. Every event from September 16-20 will be free to the public, excluding a presentation for fourth graders at the Athens County Fairgrounds on Friday. 

According to the Ohio University Office of Sustainability Pollution Prevention, a scavenger hunt will take place throughout the week. Participants  will take photos at various locations relating to stormwater, and the winner will be chosen on Tuesday, September 24. 

Other events taking place throughout pollution prevention week include presentations on sustainable water, recyclable materials and the showing of “Waste Land,” at the Athena Cinema. “Waste Land” is a film shot over three years by Vik Muniz, an artist based in Brooklyn, who travels to Rio de Janeiro to look closely  at waste, art and humanity. 

The Athens Effect will be covering the various events scheduled for Pollution Prevention Week. For more information and a full list of the week’s activities, please visit the official Athens Pollution Prevention Week website.

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