By making use of a distinction between "making something happen" and "allowing it to happen," a polluting act can be defined as making something happen with widely scattered externalized costs. Not all polluting acts are blameworthy, but we can investigate which polluting acts are sufficiently badly performed as to be blameworthy. This definition of polluting act permits us to justify the belief we often have that behavior concerning pollution may be blameworthy, even when we do not know whether the behavior caused harm.
Lercher, Aaron. 2004. "Is Anyone to Blame for Pollution?." Environmental Ethics 26, no. 4: 403-410.