Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Long-range air pollution has emerged as a serious environmental problem in Europe and North America since the early 1950s. The most critical aspect of this problem is the movement over very long distances of airborne pollutants which eventually are deposited in harmful acid compounds. These pollutants originate in a multiplicity of stationary and mobile emission sources. Because the original pollutants undergo chemical changes during the atmospheric transport, the pollutants which ultimately cause damage are chemically different from the original emissions. Moreover, the pollutants, which are usually deposited in the form of rain or snow, cause harm only in special physical and biological circumstances and after long periods of accumulation. Even a superficial discussion of the acid precipitation problem brings out the special difficulties confronting policymakers who must attempt to devise effective pollution control strategies. These difficulties extend beyond the areas of science and technology to law and the social sciences.