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Managing Air Quality - Public Participation

Public participation involves actively seeking and responding to input from citizens and enabling meaningful involvement in decision-making.

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Environmental management is the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, businesses, organizations, institutions, and governments. Increasingly, governments recognize the importance of civil society participation in environmental management. Public participation is viewed as integral to effective air quality management.

Citizens have greater access to information and are demanding to be more involved at early stages of the policy development process.  In many countries, data are available via the Internet and people can determine for themselves the sources of local pollution. Citizens can use that information to influence governmental entities or the industry directly.

Educating the public and ensuring their participation in the air quality management process is a critical aspect of governmental responsibility. Air quality has a tremendous impact on sensitive populations. These populations need to understand how they are affected, how they can minimize these impacts, and how they can influence decision makers for the benefit of all society.

Examples of How EPA Informs and Involves the Public

Tools to Help Governments Involve the Public in the Air Quality Management Process

  • EPA's Public Participation Guide provides tools for public participation and public outreach in environmental decision-making. This guide is designed to help government agencies design and implement a meaningful public participation program. The guide is available in several languages.
  • AirNow-International  is helping countries and regions around the world inform the public about the quality of the air they breathe.