What emerges from this system case study is that the preventive paradigm entails a very different approach to a particular environmental problem from that implied by the end-of-pipe philosophy. We started out thinking about mercury contamination. We followed the roots of the problem back into a complex network of material flows that embraced chlorine, organic chemicals, nutrients, sewage and water resources (Figure 25). Underlying this complex network, we can identify the need for certain kinds of services, such as clean water, laundry services, dental care and so on. But it is also clear that there are a number of different options for providing those services. And each way of meeting needs has different material implications and different environmental implications. This conclusion is clearly reminiscent of the discussion in Chapter 4
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