12-Step Roadmap to Pollution Control

The report from The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health includes short, medium and long-term solutions. Below are highlights of 12 key strategies for countries and cities to reduce pollution and save lives.


Examine where the largest impacts from pollution occur, and prioritize projects to implement.

Resources are always scarce, and work should be undertaken to determine the most impactful and potentially successful projects.

  • Base prioritization on health impact, economic benefit, and other key metrics.
  • Use Health and Pollution Action Plan tools or equivalent.
  • Source apportionment studies are often needed to determine the sources of toxicants.

Outdoor Air Pollution



1. Switch to lower sulfur contents fuels – autos, trucks, and heating.

Use euro 6 fuel standards. 

2. Control large stationary polluters (power plants, manufacturing facilities, smelters, for example) and smaller stationary sources (incinerators, local heating, etc)

Switch fuels, install scrubbers, change zoning, solid policy, community education, and enforcement

3. Establish effective controls on car and truck emissions

Deal with smoke belchers.  This needs solid policy and enforcement. 

4. Change practices with regard to burning of biomass and solid waste.

Bring new techniques to deal with farm and household waste, and enforce rules

Household Air Pollution

 5.  Bring in cleaner fuels, (not kerosene) and phase out wood and coal.

Support bottled gas, biogas, solar, electrification, etc.  

6.  Support better cookstoves

Ones that reduce particulate emissions.

Water Pollution – Sanitation

7. Fund wastewater treatment plants and house connections in cities

8. Install village and home local sanitation and clean water.

Include safe water storage, and water treatment

Soil Heavy Metals And Chemicals

9.  Make an inventory of highly polluted sites

Look for major health exposures 

10.  Clean up most toxic sites.

Prevention always first!  Polluter pays, if possible.     

11.  Don’t forget lead (Pb) exposures

Explore lead in pottery, cooking utensils, battery recycling, paint, other


12.  Regulate occupational exposures.

Fund effective enforcement.  

Additional Tips for Pollution Programs

  • Monitoring is critical – to develop baselines, determine program effectiveness, and provide public information.
  • Enforcement of regulations is critical and needs funding.  No regulations should be created without an effective enforcement program design and implementation.
  • Research activities will be required to support these solutions.
  • Public and political support, and enthusiasm is needed. Programs should have a communications component.

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