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ENVIRONMENT:
Pollution

 



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Portlanders imagine a pollution-free future.

Section Summary

There is considerable disagreement over pollution levels in Portland. A large number of respondents deem the streets, parks, highways, air and drinking water to be clean. Others believe more needs to be done to alleviate pollution in our city and region. These respondents are concerned for their health and well-being and feel that their quality of life is compromised due to pollutants. Many express the need for reduction or even the banning of major sources of pollution, such as fossil fuels, in the future.

When considering the long-term impacts of pollution, Portlanders appreciate local efforts to address peak oil concerns through research, policy and alternative energy promotion. People also emphasize investments in alternative transportation, such as increasing bike paths, as a method of reducing pollution by making it easier for people to choose biking over driving.

Summary of Main Ideas

  1. Portland seems less polluted than other cities.
  2. Many people are concerned about the negative health impacts of pollution.
  3. Government, businesses and individuals should be held accountable for polluting the environment and supported for reducing pollution.
  4. Public education and outreach needs to be a tool for building broad community awareness of ways to improve the environment and reduce pollution.

MAIN IDEAS

  1. Portland seems less polluted than other cities.
  • Many people value the overall cleanliness of Portland.
  • Some feel that the City is invested in keeping the city clean when, for instance, they see an abundance of public garbage containers around town to help reduce waste in the streets.
  • Numerous people believe that decent air quality requires the preservation of  trees and forests in the city.
  • Some approve of the fact that our city is already addressing peak oil through research and alternative energy options.
  • Many attribute the lower levels of pollution in Portland to efforts that have been made to encourage cycling and other forms of alternative transit.

Sample Strategies:

  1. Expand bike lanes throughout the city as a way to address pollution.

  1. Many people are concerned about the negative health impacts of pollution.
  • A large number of Portlanders raise concerns over the individual and community health effects of one or more of the following types of pollution:
    • Air pollution (for more detail, see Environment: Air);
    • Water pollution (for more detail, see Environment: Water);
    • Industrial pollution, particularly the overflow of industrial pollutants into rivers;
    • Soil contamination;
    • Pesticide use, especially in Portland parks and on foods sold in stores or given to children in schools;
    • Radioactive contamination; and/or
    • Noise pollution
  • Portlanders make a call to ensure that neighborhoods most affected by pollution receive special attention, NW Portland in particular has bad air qualit as neighborhoods closest to freeways).

Sample Strategies:

  1. Pesticide use should be banned from use in public spaces such as parks.

  1. Government, businesses and individuals should be held accountable for polluting the environment, and supported for reducing pollution.
  • Implementing anti-pollution policies and practices in the near future is necessary to plan for a long-term, environmentally thriving and healthy future of Portland.
  • Companies that emit toxins in the air and water should be subject to regulatory enforcement and strict penalties for non-compliance.
  • The City should offer incentives to individuals to encourage the use of more sustainable materials and environmental practices.
“...take the reins away from the federal government and spearhead a directed initiative between Washington, Oregon and the various cities located on both the Columbia and Willamette rivers for a true and comprehensive clean-up. In a city that prides itself on green living, a better and functional effort must be made to clean our rivers. Take the initiative.”

Sample Strategies:

  1. Eliminate mercury use in dentist offices; dispose of mercury responsibly.

  1. Public education and outreach needs to be a tool for building broad community awareness of ways to improve the environment and reduce pollution.
  • People need to know how to access available pollution reduction strategies.
  • Some respondents believe that effective public education will help bring about a common practice of environmental integrity among residents.
"We need to identify, recognize and promote the culture, values, environment and other assets that are being recognized nationally more so than locally. We need to put a high level of emphasis on maintaining and sustaining high quality public education.”

“Clean air! Mainly I would like regulations that reduce our environmental exposure to toxic substances. I would like Portland parks and school grounds to be pesticide free. I would like higher emissions standards for cars and industry. I would like bars to be non-smoking. In addition, more bike lanes, higher CO2 emissions standards (Kyoto Protocol), more green building, and green spaces, more max lines, and more community gardens would be very positive changes.”

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