WIT Press

Fifty Years Air Pollution Research And Policy In The EU


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WIT Press


J. G. Kretzschmar


Despite the fact that air pollution has been observed since Roman times, and thatin past centuries some limited, rather local actions have already been taken, it required several air pollution episodes with serious health impacts before air pollution management really started in a limited number of cities, regions or countries. A noteworthy example is the famous London smog episode in 1952 that triggered a systematic approach locally and in some other European countries. Based on an \“air pollution system” approach, some major evolutions and achievements in the EU are highlighted in this paper for the following subsystems: emissions, immissions, air quality guidelines/standards and modelling. Keywords: air pollution, historical review, research, policy, monitoring, modelling, management. 1 Introduction Air pollution, especially in cities, is not at all a new problem. Already in the writings of the Roman philosopher Seneca air pollution appears. Many centuries later, namely in 1661, J. Evelyn [1] mentioned in his \“Fumifugium” the influence of industrial emissions on human health, plants and animals, as well as the transboundary exchange of pollutants between England and France. He even suggested remedial actions such as higher chimneys and industrial zones outside the city. Some 200 years later R.A. Smith published a detailed report on the chemical composition of rainwater as a function of the distance to the centre of the city of Manchester. He was also the inventor of the expression \“acid rain” in his book [2]. Around the same time the first steps in cleaning flue gases were set too. A more complete review of this is given in \“A history of flue gas


air pollution, historical review, research, policy, monitoring, modelling, management.