What Is an Environmental NGO?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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An environmental non-governmental agency (NGO) is an organization operated without funding from the legislature. These groups can be dedicated to preserving land, cleaning up environmental hazards, or education. In many cases, the environmental NGO is a not-for-profit organization, which operates solely on donations from the public. It could also be a private business that performs tasks needed by individuals who store or transport hazardous materials.

Many groups recognize the need to help the environment even though there are often government agencies responsible for this. As a result, an environmental NGO might be a non-profit organization or simply a group of volunteers. They often perform such tasks as planting trees to preserve forests or constructing wildlife habitats to protect endangered species. They might also set aside time to pick up trash from roadways, clean up debris from lakes or streams, or educate other groups on the importance of these actions.

An environmental NGO may be a charitable organization, where funding may come from private donations or fundraising campaigns. Leaders of the independent organization might solicit donations in person or via the Internet. They might also conduct telethons or other special events to do this. Many areas allow donations to a not-for-profit organization to be deducted on an individual's tax return, and this can be a useful tool to use when fundraising. An environmental NGO could collect money for a specific project such as developing wetlands or to the overall operation of the volunteer group.


Other times, an environmental NGO is operated much as any other business in that it provides services for a fee. An example is the transportation and storage of many chemicals. The NGO could be paid to provide a place for hazardous materials to be stored, or a business sometimes pays for the transportation or disposal of these toxins. By providing these services, many industries can eliminate the need to hire full-time staff to manage hazardous materials, thereby saving both time and money.

While an environmental NGO is not funded by taxes, the members of this organization may nonetheless have strict government regulations to follow. They may also work in conjunction with environmental agencies that are government funded when responding to disastrous situations. There are generally no educational requirements for working as a volunteer for one of these organizations, but a bachelor's degree in environmental science could be helpful in landing a paid position.


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