With all of the attention on global warming and other environmental issues in recent years, it's no surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency would continue to look for ways to make communities healthy and sustainable. Making sure that ecosystems remain viable, wildlife isn't adversely affected and people have clean air, water and land is one of the functions of the agency.
To that end, the agency conducts research in order to determine the best way to preserve the environment for the future while allowing for economic prosperity and providing for the health of community members.
The EPA's research program
The Sustainable and Healthy Communities research program attempts to highlight the connections and interactions of environmental quality and human wellness with social, natural and built environments. The program examines the following four research topics:
- Community well-being, ecosystem goods and services, and public health
- Cohesive solutions for sustainable communities
- Decision innovation and support
- Sustainable approaches for materials management and contaminated sites
Researchers gather information from a variety of sources from the federal to the local level. The agency is looking to increase the exchange of information and resources between itself and communities across the country, including those here in Georgia. The goal is to help communities such as yours identify problem areas and come up with solutions that will benefit everyone well into the future. It also attempts to provide information regarding how decisions made today could adversely affect the environment and public health now and in the future.
The program also continues to search for viable remediation methods when it comes to cleaning up contaminated sites and using waste materials in a more environmentally safe and sustainable manner.
The EPA's research products
The EPA provides resources for communities that could help improve environmental and health issues they may have. For instance, its EnviroAtlas provides access to information regarding a variety of factors that could help you identify issues in your community and offer you possible solutions. It provides information on socioeconomic, environmental and public health issues that you may not have access to otherwise.
The Report on the Environment provides information on what's happening with the country's human health and environmental condition. The EPA has made its Framework for Sustainability Indicators, which is an internal document used to measure progress, and it is available to the public. The Eco-Health Relationship Browser provides scientific evidence regarding the connections between ecosystems and human health.
All of these resources could help create a more environmentally friendly community for sure. However, they could also provide clues as to how the EPA may examine your community for compliance issues. Understanding what the agency expects from local governments regarding environmental management and public health could help you avoid any costly and time-consuming issues with the EPA in the future.