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Title: Urban Air Pollution in Asian Cities: Status, Challenges and Management
Author(s): Dieter Schwela, Gary Haq, Cornie Huizenga, Wha-Jin Han, Herbert Fabian and May Ajero
Date of Publication: 2007 Publisher: Earthscan
Pages:xix + 276 ISBN: 1 84407 375 0
Price: Format:Paperback
Target Readership Sen Secondary







Content: 1 – Urban air pollution in asia; Air quality management capability in Asian cities; 3 - Air quality management in twenty Asian cities; 4 - Development of air quality management in Asian cities; 5 - Trends and Challenges in managing urban air quality in Asia.

Review: The development of cities has always brought pollution in its wake. Considering one of the first Acts in London was to control smoke in the 16th century it follows that wherever people gather, air quality diminishes. The problem we see today is similar to that seen centuries ago but the key difference is the sheer size of the problem.

This text focusses on some of the largest Asian cities - 20 in all from Bangkok to Tokyo. There's an interesting mix from some of the world's poorest places to some of the very richest. Places where basic human needs are not being met to areas where any sort of problem would have been assumed to be fixed ages ago. Here's what makes this an interesting read - pollution is no respecter of money or technology. The aim of the book is to describe the results of a study carried out to benchmark air quality and to suggest some ways forward. The first chapter examines in some detail the development of urban air pollution. It starts with a consideration of the way in which pollution levels change with development and goes on to see what drives pollution, its impacts and how it can be addressed. In so doing it follows the increasingly common DPSIR system (drivers, pressure, state, impact, response) which provides a robust framework for discussion (and a useful way for the reader to understand the issue). Chapter two examines the way in which air quality is being investigated and managed in the target cities. There's details about method, pollutants measured and the level of management capability. A final table rates cities with unexpected results - top cities for quality are drawn from a range of development 'levels' although there is the inevitable lower ratings for those cities most in need of help and finance. Chapter three, the largest in the book, takes each city and examines key factors e.g. legislation, emissions, monitoring and health. Chapter four gather some of this data together to see to what extent air quality management as a system is present in these cities and what are the barriers to improvement. A final chapter describes some of the key trends and how they might be managed.

The idea of this book is quite simple and yet very effective. We read a lot of generic material about air quality but rarely is there a book looking specifically at this issue in a series of cities. The book is well written for a general audience which makes its information all the more accessible. The comparisons mean that most people will have a connection with at least one of the cities so that one can identify with the issues raised. Despite these qualities, this is a very focussed text which will really only provide details for those interested in specific areas or in air quality management discussion. This might limit the market which is a pity for it has much to say that deserves a wider audience.





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