|Multi-Media Pollution Prevention (M2P2) is a comprehensive planning, analytical, and management approach that protects and enhances New York State's environment and the health and well being of its citizens at lower costs than traditional approaches.
Multi-media (M2) refers to the simultaneous identification and evaluation of all aspects of the "media" (i.e., air, water, land) that compose the physical environment. Pollution Prevention (P2) refers to the steps taken to avoid creating pollution "at the source" to reduce the costs and risks of recycling, treating, controlling, or disposing of waste further down the "waste management hierarchy."
By combining the M2 strategy and analysis with P2 methodologies, M2P2 reduces total management costs and environmental risks by preventing pollution, shifting control up the waste management hierarchy, and minimizing inter-media pollution transfers.
A key feature of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (NYS DEC) M2P2 Program has been the "Integrated Facility Management" program. This effort focuses on a manageable subset of New York State's industrial facilities: the 400+ facilities that generate and release 95 percent of the State's toxic chemicals and hazardous substances (thus the title of the project-the "400/95" Initiative). The goal of this program was to reduce the State's toxic chemical releases to the environment by 50 percent by the year 2000 from a 1990 baseline. Based on a review of the toxic release data for 1997, New York State was well on the way to reaching this goal by 2000.
The Pollution Prevention Unit's mission is to plan, guide, manage, monitor, and coordinate the delivery of support activities, including making available technical expertise and information resources needed to implement Integrated Facility Management and other M2P2 initiatives. The Unit helps facilitate a shift in emphasis from DEC's traditional, command-and-control, media-specific, end-of-the-pipe management mode to one that is more flexible, incentive-based, comprehensive, multi-media, and preventative.
The Integrated Facility Management Initiative involves a team of DEC regional staff from all relevant environmental quality units. They work together to assemble and assess all pertinent information, coordinate media inspections usually at a single point in time, and then comprehensively evaluate each selected industrial facility. This process allows determination of overall facility regulatory compliance, produces opportunities for identifying and implementing P2 improvements, and helps to avoid inadvertent inter-media pollutant transfers.
As of Summer 1999, approximately 125 M2P2 facilities were active in the M2P2 process. Fifty-four environmental management improvements were proposed by the DEC facility teams, 34 of which were in the process of being implemented.
In addition to increasing compliance, the inspections also produce better communication and joint problem solving between the Department and the facilities, which in turn produces more and better P2 initiatives and other environmental improvements.
DEC's M2P2 approach has demonstrated that:
- by using teams and prioritizing efforts on the more serious pollution sources and risks, DEC can more efficiently and cost effectively utilize its limited resources;
- by interacting with a coordinated team of representatives from all DEC program units, industry can save time and effort;
- by increasing technical assistance and voluntary compliance emphasis, a more cooperative joint problem-solving atmosphere is created between DEC and the industry. This fosters better compliance as well as additional and more effective environmental improvements - including P2, which generally can cut costs for industry and improve its community relations;
- by reducing the amount of pollution and more effectively managing that which remains, the environment and public health benefit;
- by obtaining more services at less cost from DEC; the taxpayers benefit; and
- by decreasing industry's non-compliance costs and risks, the economy is strengthened; and resource loss from pollution and waste is reduced.