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Prevent Pollution: Karyn Parson PSA


The following Public Service Announcement presented by Karyn Parsons is sponsored by the United States Environmental Agency.

Fig. 1 Video courtesy of United States Environmental Agency (

Background information

The video depicts people collecting litter especially plastic bottles from the ground using recyclable plastic bags. The video represents a common occurrence in the environment where pollution is caused by human activities. Littering of waste products like plastic bottles, glasses, papers, human waste and bio-degradable materials is common across the world. The image represents pollution of an environment that is diverse as evidenced by plants and trees.

According to Portney & Stavins (2000), the formation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970 resulted from a growing public concern over environmental degradation from 1950s. Since the establishment of the EPA, the agency has been based in Washington with several regions across the nation. The regional offices manage equipped laboratories for purposes of environmental research and education. The EPA advises both federal and state governments on environmental issues by establishing laws relevant to the prevailing problems. Environmental legislations by EPA are anchored on the constitution intent to protect life and natural resources. The executive order and the Congress give EPA powers to enforce penalties against individuals and organizations flouting the environmental protection law. The main reason for establishing the agency is to protect human life and the larger ecosystem through relevant laws. With ten regions across various cities and states including Iowa, Colorado, Alaska, Illinois, and New Jersey, EPA has made progress in developing effective environmental laws.

According to Kraft (2011), the general environmental issues that EPA focus on include air, water, land, endangered species, and hazardous waste.  Notable air protection legislations include the Air Pollution Control and, Air Quality Act. In addition, EPA has constituted relevant laws for improving air quality by eliminating and reducing emission of toxic chemicals and gasses by factories into the atmosphere. For water pollution, EPA uses legislations that provide guidance on improving quality, preserving and restoring drinking water sources. EPA seeks to prevent land pollution by focusing on natural resources like rivers, endangered species, mines, forests, deserts and farming land. However, reducing land pollution is complemented by-laws for waste disposal, land compensation, and revitalization.


Social issue

The PSA major audience is the citizens living in concentrated regions like communities, villages, towns, and cities. The citizenry composition of the audience includes individuals, policy makers, leaders and organizations that are environmentally aware of the ongoing pollution.

Pollution of air, water and land are highlighted in the PSA. Parson acknowledges that with recent global progress especially in the urban areas, air pollution has become a social problem. Apparently, there are industrial processes everywhere with manufacturing firms emitting carbon waste into the air. The same pollution is also caused by carbon-emission from buses and trains traversing the cities. According to Casper (2010), smoke from coal-powered Industries is the leading cause of acidic rains which is raced with sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The resultant corrosiveness affects plants and trees, as well as, damages infrastructures built using steel.

Apparently, the effects translate to poor food production especially in states that depend on agricultural activities. Studies by Bruce, Perez-Padilla & Albalak (2000) asserts that, air pollution is a leading cause of asthma, respiratory and cardiac disorders among young children and adults respectively. Medical experts allege that lung cancer can be attributed to constant air pollution. The resultant number of deaths among asthmatic deaths and increased cost of healthcare is inevitable. The United States government spend an exorbitant amount of money to improve health care services for people vulnerable to diseases caused by air pollution.  According to Landrigan, Schechter, Lipton, Fahs & Schwartz (2002), the disastrous impact of lead exposure through air is renowned for causing learning disabilities and behavior among children. The same impact is more devastating when caused by nuclear exposure than the industrial smoke. However, this cost of health can be reduced if industries are relocated to sparsely-populated regions.

According to Alley, Beebe, Rodgers & Castle (2011), the dangers of water pollution are attributed to unconventional chemical disposal. In this regard, the chemicals get into waterways known as drinking water sources. Lack of proper drainage systems in the urban areas is a major cause of water pollution. Redirecting chemical waste into rivers and sea has a negative impact on the immediate ecosystem. For example, marine life is destroyed by chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and mercury.  Industrial sites like paper and pulp mills release huge volumes of chemicals into drainage systems and later into drinking water sources. Other sources of water pollution include mining and fertilizers.

Water pollution by destroying drinking water sources like forests, wells and dams has a detrimental impact on the population that rely on the same (Alley, Beebe, Rodgers & Castle, 2011). For example, contamination of drinking water using the chlorobenzene causes eye, skin and gastrointestinal infections. People who drinking water contaminated by pesticide complain of developmental and behavioral disorders. However, this happens when the endocrine system is exposed to chemicals for a long time.  Diseases of prostate and breast cancers, as well as, cognitive impairment is caused by PCBs and other endocrine disruptors found in contaminated water.

It is imperative that the social structures of a community and organizations be protected from water pollutant that affect general individual welfare and productivity. The capacity of the population or individual to contribute towards individual and communal empowerment is affected by the lack of water, safe food, and health.

Land pollution has its share of social effect if not protected. For centuries, people have used land as a source of wealth and means to acquire social status. In this context, land is used for farming, infrastructural development, mining, sewage treatment, and nuclear tests (Jacobson, 2009). Therefore, it is common for people to engage in deforestation, land conversation and eventually into desertification. Limited access to land can be a source of social conflicts if parties involved perceive soil as the source of wealth or social status. Lack of adequate land to conduct agricultural activities exposes people to hunger, drought, and unprecedented climate patterns (Jacobson, 2009). In recent times, the controversial global warming phenomenon endangers the existence of life on earth. Apparently, the effects of land pollution through nuclear chemicals and deforestation is causing human unrest, and conflict with nature as struggle for food continues.

According to Jacobson (2009), the ongoing pollution endangers endanger flora and fauna, which is critical to human survival. The global concern for a world void of greenhouse gasses offers a potential solution. Therefore, the collaborative effort by every individual in ensuring that the environment is protected and preserved for the benefit of future generations is necessary.

The PSA by Parson and EPA is a well-founded campaign on why the solutions towards environmental pollution is a collective responsibility. The PSA reminds the audience of the ongoing pollution problem, and the dangers of the same if a solution is not found. The PSA starts by acknowledging the presence of carbon emission by industrial plants in major cities around America. The presenter mentions California and New York as major cities affected by air pollution from carbon gas emission from vehicles. In this context, the PSA attains audience attention through motion pictures and images that highlight air, water, and land pollution. The impression created by carbon smoke, traffic jams in a city, sick people, and a littered environment is impressive.

The PSA is persuasive in nature as it creates awareness through a script that is not sketchy with attention given to the presenter’s voice. The PSA video is focused and steady as evidenced by no camera movements. The sound of the presenter is clear for audience comprehension. The video is shot without shadows and glares because of sufficient lighting and color. The transitions between different scenes are excellent and is consistent with the message mood, content, and flow. The video clips imply continuity in terms of pacing, tone, and content. Moreover, the video has been enhanced using clear titles that improve message delivery. Importantly, message emphasis is complemented by good exceptional creativity evidenced through a mixture of motion pictures, narration, and images. The PSA video contents a great understanding of the topic, audience appeals, and the power of visual messages. Moreover, the PSA topic in interesting and shows factual presentation of pollution as a social problem.

Appeal effectiveness

Firstly, the PSA on preventing pollution is effective as it focuses on a social problem affecting every individual, community and country. Importantly, the global appeal of the PSA and the presentation of factual effects of pollution is captivating to the audience. The presentation of the PSA by Karyn Parsons who is a renowned actor and celebrity in the American industry is interesting. The inclusion of a celebrity pulls a large crowd into observing the PSA. The celebrity uses an emotional tone in reminding the audience of how air, water and pollution are affecting every aspect of human life. In this context, the American audience resonates with the PSA observation of how cities in California and New York are polluted. The PSA challenges the audience into taking actions of cleaning the environment to ensure people access fresh air and drinking water. The inclusion of children suffering from asthma is emotional and heartbreaking to the audience. By using subheadings of how pollution is associated with cancer and pulmonary diseases, the audience appreciates the issue of a clean environment.

The audience is made to believing that collective responsibility is a good solution to eliminating pollution. In this context, the PSA message includes an image of a person holding a young plant to depict how life depends on water and land. Therefore, the audience appreciates that clean water and fertile soil is vital for providing food to mankind. In addition, the images of people collecting plastics using recyclable plastic bags depict human effort in preventing land pollution. A good solution to plastic bags that are harmful to the environment is recycling as depicted by the PSA images. The PSA insists on pollution reduction at the community level. Since the pollution tends to affect community life, organized environmental clean-ups are helpful in intervening against the problem. The PSA advocates for continued advocacy or environmental issues and public awareness. The importance of individual learning from the EPA and other environment-oriented organizations is emphasized as a great step towards preserving clean air, water, and land. Finally, the EPA message focuses on why preventing pollution is important by implying that children and future generations will live on a habitable planet.


The essence of a PSA is to influence the audience by emphasizing the significance of the prevailing social problems. In this case, the PSA aims at raising public awareness about harmful pollution habits. To change public attitudes and behaviors towards pollution require a professional approach by certified agencies like EPA. The issue of pollution is a global problem with major casualties in developed countries like the United States. Since the increased industrial activities in the United States endangers life, the PSA must effectively understand the audience’s social, environmental and cultural context. Presentation of factual information as the PSA content is necessary. From the above, EPA is consistent with all elements of an effective PSA in terms of appeal and content. The social impact of air, water and land pollution include an unhealthy community, increased cost of health and unsustainable food production. Both air and water pollution causes diseases that increases the cost of health and deprives the society important amenities like clean drinking water. The probability of human and animal conflict increases with land pollution through deforestation and depletion of natural resources. The environmental PSA offers the audience with an opportunity to take control of pollution by learning through EPA.  The PSA proves that preventing pollution requires more than legislation, but individual and communal involvement is necessary.


Alley, B., Beebe, A., Rodgers, J., & Castle, J. W. (2011). Chemical and physical characterization of produced waters from conventional and unconventional fossil fuel resources. Chemosphere, 85(1), 74-82.

Bruce, N., Perez-Padilla, R., & Albalak, R. (2000). Indoor air pollution in developing countries: a major environmental and public health challenge. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78(9), 1078-1092.

Casper, J. K. (2010). Fossil fuels and pollution: the future of air quality. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.

Jacobson, M. Z. (2009). Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Energy & Environmental Science, 2(2), 148-173.

Kraft, M. E. (2011). Environmental policy and politics. New York, NY: Longman.

Landrigan, P. J., Schechter, C. B., Lipton, J. M., Fahs, M. C., & Schwartz, J. (2002). Environmental pollutants and disease in American children: estimates of morbidity, mortality, and costs for lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and developmental disabilities. Environmental health perspectives, 110(7), 721.

Portney, P. R., & Stavins, R. N. (Eds.). (2000). Public policies for environmental protection. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.

United States Environmental Agency. (2012, April 11). Prevent pollution. Karyn Parson PSA. [Video file]. Retrieved from











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