Student guide to environmental information

Researching an assignment on pollution? Want to start a recycling program at your school or looking for ideas on how you can reduce your impact on the environment? Want to learn more about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency? Find tips and resources on a variety of topics the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) works on.

student water secchiAbout the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Mission: Working to protect and improve our environment and human health.

We fulfill our mission by monitoring environmental quality, offer assistance, enforce environmental regulations, and support environmental education. Learn more about the MPCA.

Monitoring environmental quality

Monitoring. To help us keep track of the health of Minnesota's environment, we monitor the environment by recording observations, making measurements and analyzing samples and data collected at specific locations. Learn more about what environmental monitoring we do.

Collecting data. The agency uses a lot of data to track and measure environmental quality in our air, on our land, and in our water. To learn more about what data we collect visit the Environmental Data Access webpage.

Air quality. Breathing polluted air is unhealthy for everyone. The Air Quality Index (AQI) provides a way to report daily air quality conditions in Minnesota. It measures pollutants in Minnesota and when the air quality is poor an alert is issued. To learn more, visit the Air Quality Index webpage.

Water is one of Minnesota's most abundant and precious resources. Discover information about a lake or stream or sign up to be a community water monitor.

Waste is an expensive and sometimes unavoidable result of human activity. Every year the MPCA collects data from Minnesota counties about their waste management efforts. It includes information on recycling, waste reduction and waste generation. To learn about your county’s waste, visit the Recycling in Minnesota webpage.


The MPCA offers financial and technical assistance to help businesses and communities with environmental regulations. We also work with businesses, schools, and local government to prevent waste and pollution.

Regulations and enforcement

Environmental rules and regulations are essential tools used to protect Minnesota's environment. These rules and regulations set standards for environmental quality and limits on pollutants. The MPCA is also responsible for enforcing rules and laws.

kidsEnvironmental education

To keep our communities healthy and our environment vibrant, Minnesotans need to think critically and act responsibly in order to make informed decisions.

According to the Second Minnesota Report Card on Environmental Literacy, 60 percent of Minnesota adults believe that they are knowledgeable about environmental issues and problems, yet only 47 percent of the state’s adults have above-average knowledge about the environment. Only 11 percent received an A grade. In other words, Minnesotans think they know more than they actually do.

Environmental education is about increasing our knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in order to make informed decisions for an ecologically healthy and vibrant community.