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Public Participation

Definition
Overview
How do I involve the public in the air quality management system?

Definition

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

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AQM System Flow Chart Highlighting Public Participation
Overview

Environmental management is the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, industries, businesses, organizations and institutions, governments, and countries.  Increasingly, governments recognize the value and importance of participation by civil society in environmental management, and are responding to the public’s desire to be included in decision-making processes on matters that affect them.  Public participation is viewed as integral to having an effective environmental management.

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

Educating the public and ensuring their participation in the environmental protection systems is a critical aspect of governmental responsibility.  Air quality has such a tremendous impact on sensitive populations and they 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.

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How do I involve the public in the air quality management system?

U.S. EPA has information on public involvement that is intended to share information about public involvement activities across EPA and help users understand how different types of public involvement relate to EPA programs and how public input can be used in EPA decision-making processes. Important examples of how U.S. EPA provides environmental information to the public include:

The Public Participation Guide to Air Quality Decision-Making in California Exit EPA provides with the basic tools and information needed to understand and participate in the air pollution policy, planning, permitting, and regulatory decision-making processes in California.

Resources

Organizations and Agencies

Citizen Guides

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Tools and Training

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