We are used to statements like you cannot have too much information, the more information the better and information is power. The publishing and marketing industries have been used to printing excessive copies of books, magazines and brochures regardless of customer demand, just in case they were needed.
At a personal level, information pollution will affect the capacity of the individual to evaluate options and find adequate solutions. In the most extreme case it can lead to information overload and this in turn to anxiety, decision paralysis and stress. There also seem to be some negative effects on the learning process.
Aside from its impact on the individual, some authors argue that information pollution and information overload can cause loss of perspective and moral values. This argument has been used to explain the indifferent behaviour that modern society shows towards certain topics such as scientific discoveries, health warnings or politics.
Among the technology-based alternatives are the use of decision support systems and internet control panels which enable prioritisation of information. It has also been advocated that technologies that create frequent interruptions should be replaced with less “polluting” options.
At an organisational level, some of the solutions proposed include the enforcement of e-mail usage policies and the development of an information integrity assurance strategy, in similar lines to existing quality assurance frameworks.Time management and stress management techniques can be applied at a personal or organisational level. This would involve setting priorities and minimising the opportunities for interruptions. As an individual, writing clearly and concisely would also help to minimise information pollution effects on others