Pollution can take many forms, from heavy metals in our water supplies to artificial light that prevents us from seeing stars at night. There is even pollution in outer space. Pollution is not a new problem; there is evidence for example that atmospheric lead pollution occurred in Greek and Roman times. But pollution has become more prevalent since the Industrial Revolution and now poses numerous threats to human health and to the well-being of the planetary environment. Many pollutants are long-lasting and could pose environmental and health risks for centuries to come.
Australians produce the equivalent of three million trucks full of compacted rubbish each year. About half of this is household waste; the rest is garden waste, industrial waste, building rubble and waste from other sources. Much of this waste could be avoided by recycling and by using materials more efficiently. As consumers we can contribute by choosing environmentally friendly products, by repairing, re-using and recycling those products – and by making do with less.