Environment ministers from industrialised Western countries have agreed to step up the fight against world pollution.
GV: OECD headquarters in Paris.
SCU: street sign, rue de Franqueville
SV INTERIOR: OECD Chairman, Mr Douglas Costle, (Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) speaking.
SV: Mr Costle speaking.
MR. DOUGLAS COSTLE:"We also recognise the need for new programmes to ensure environmental protection in urban areas. Every nation knows the problems of urban smog. A major source of this pollution is the automobile and we need a more comprehensive effort in this area. We are, in summary, finding that prevention is worth a pound of cure, that harmonisation is becoming the order of the day, that we have a new concept of qualitative growth that is compatible with environmental limitations, and that we face the future with an even stronger sense of international cooperation that ever before.
I've referenced in my opening remarks the conviction that we all felt in these few days that the cost of trying to clean up a problem may well exceed by orders of magnitude the cost of preventing the problem in the first place. An example again in our own case: the famous and now infamous Love canal which was a chemical landfill that was closed about 15 years ago in Upper State New York; which this last year suddenly erupted and we had literally a chemical soup coming out of that landfill. Over the intervening years the water table had risen. We had to move families and there were numerous incidences of health effects, birth defects, spontaneous abortions."
Mr. Costle, who is administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told delegates that economic difficulties did not provide a valid reason for abandoning anti-pollution measures already in force. For example, preliminary results from a new study commissioned by his agency indicated that the United States might be deriving eight billion dollars a year already in increased productivity through reductions in worker illness and mortality caused by some air pollution.
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Background: Environment ministers from industrialised Western countries have agreed to step up the fight against world pollution. At a meeting in paris this week (7 and 8 May), the 24 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) discussed ways of reducing dangers to the environment. They heard that, without new controls, world-wide pollution could increase by 25 per cent by 1985.
SYNOPSIS: At OECD headquarters, the American chairman of the meeting - Mr. Douglas Costle - summarised the ministers' concern........