The Government is tasked with protecting our environment. It regulates industries, investigates potential environmental crimes, and drafts and enforces environmental laws. However, citizens are the largest stakeholders in our environmental quality. When a facility discharges harmful chemical into the air, it is the facility workers and adjacent community members whose health may be impacted. When oil or other pollutants are discharged into a waterway, it is the people who swim and fish in that waterway who bear the brunt of that pollution. When litter is thrown on the side of the road and ends up impacting wildlife, that wildlife is unable to call for help or report this violation of environmental law. We depend on the environment and the environment depends on us. Every day citizens play an important role in safeguarding the environment. For the air, land, and water we depend on to be protected, every user of these resources must take responsibility.
This section contains a basic form to record the relevant information you might need when documenting an environmental concern. This general form could be applied to many different circumstances and will hopefully be a valuable tool to empower anyone to be an effective steward of their environment. Reporting of environmental concerns is the first step to facilitating the necessary government actions to protect the health and safety of our communities.
As a reference, here is a list of just a few of the environmental concerns you may encounter that this reporting form could be utilized for:
- Oil spill
- Unknown sheen visible on a waterway
- Chemical odor / fumes
- Runoff from landfill draining off-site
- Hazardous material spill from storage facility, tanker truck, or train
- Dust blowing into a community from loading/unloading facility
- Smoke from an industrial facility
- Smoke from burning agriculture fields blowing across roads or into community
- Sewage leak
- Litter on the side of the road or in a waterway
- Illegal dumping
ANYTHING that poses a risk to the health of you and your environment, report it. Some concerns may be chronic, occur repeatedly, and should be reported every time they are observed. This will document the frequency of the problem and may be valuable for developing an appropriate solution.
Please see the following page for an Environmental Incident Reporting Form. Use this to collect important information and provide that information to the appropriate agencies. Feel free to copy the form and share it with other residents in your community who may be interested in being empowered to document concerns in your area.
The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide To Environmental Engagement