Courtesy Reuters

Pollution as an International Issue

The Earth is one ecological unit. The student of disease pandemics-cholera, plague, influenza-has long understood that the world is bound by bacterial bonds. When the volcano Krakatoa exploded in the Dutch East Indies in August 1883, the sun was darkened by the debris scattered across oceans and the roar was heard in Japan and the Philippines. Earthquakes in Japan have affected the levels of wells in California and Texas. In July 1968, it was reported that violent rains and winds in England brought airborne red silts from the Sahara Desert.

Whenever man eats, drinks, works, fights or plays he creates modifications in his environment. The consequences of such disturbances may be small, great or worldwide. They depend upon the nature, the place, the time and the intensity of his activities. The artificial political boundaries which separate cities, states, countries and regions are myriad; the areas they enclose range from the minuscule to the vast land mass of the Soviet Union. With such geographic diversity, it is inevitable that the movement of wastes by water, air and land will often cross national and international barriers. "Around the World in Eighty Days" was not imaginary for man, nor is it for his wastes.

Although this passage of physical, chemical and biological materials has long confronted us, the consequences have become more evident in the last half-century. Industrialization, urbanization and explosive population growth have combined to intensify interest and concern. Society is thus forced, with all the ingenuity at its command, to restore the desired quality of its surroundings. The task requires a determination of the condition, including concentration, time and place under which potentially polluting wastes may be disposed of to nature without adverse effects upon human health, animal and plant life and materials.

There has been much public discussion-and not only in the United States- regarding the deteriorating quality of the world environment. The reasons for the mounting interest and indeed excitement are succinctly stated in the 1965 Report of the Environmental Pollution Panel of

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