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Environment-Economy Integration for Land Maintenance Approaches to Heavy Metal Pollution in the Ruhr Area and in Katowice Voivodship


  • J. Blazejczak


The present paper synthesizes the results of the Ruhr-Katowice Comparison Project. This research was conducted at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) between 1994 and 1996 as part of an Industrial Metabolism project which focused on the impacts from production, use and disposal of materials containing metals on soils in the Upper Basins of the Elbe and Oder rivers. Using tools of analysis and soil science this project traced the sources, flows, and accumulations of heavy metals. The Ruhr-Katowice Comparison Project aimed at a better understanding of policy options for reducing heavy metal contamination and managing heavy metal contaminated soils. The Ruhr area in Germany and Katowice Voivodship in Poland are the two hot spots in Europe of heavy metal pollution. They have many economic features in common due to the historical orientation of their economies on coal and heavy industries. They differ with respect to environmental policies, however. Pollution has been largely mitigated in the Ruhr area by measures that started in the 1960s while hardly any emphasis was given to environmental protection in Poland before the 1990s. The Ruhr-Katowice Comparison Project analyzed the role of environmental policies from the perspective of soil protection and identified the key elements that led to the historical reduction of atmospheric heavy metal emissions in the Ruhr area. A complementary analysis was performed on current efforts directed towards environmental clean-up in the Katowice Voivodship. This study takes an economic point of view. Economic analysis of environmental policy compares the cost and benefits of different policy options. As a comprehensive empirical cost-benefit analysis is not feasible, an assessment is made based on concept of environment - economy integration. This notion describes attempts to design policies with proper regard to the interrelationships that exist between the environment and the economy in order to exploit synergies or to minimize conflicts between environmental and economic objectives. Six dimensions of integration are distinguished which represent different, though not independent, strategies to coordinate environmental and economic objectives. Requirements are derived which policies have to correspond to in order to promote environment-economy integration. These requirements are used as criteria for an assessment of historical policies in the Ruhr area and current approaches in the Katowice Voivodship. Based on the identification of the successes as well as the failures of efforts in the Ruhr area and the strengths and deficits of current approaches in Katowice guidelines are proposed for improving environment - economy integration for land maintenance. The results presented in the present paper are summarized from a series of studies commissioned for the Ruhr-Katowice Comparison Project; they are referenced throughout the text and marked in the list of references. The results of the commissioned studies were discussed at two workshops held at IIASA. The Ruhr-Katowice Comparison Project yielded four main results: first, it contributes to the methodology of assessing policy options by developing and applying the concept of environment - economy integration. Second, it yields a historical review of the beginning of systematic environmental polices in the Ruhr area. Third, gives an overview of current approaches to managing heavy metal pollution in the Katowice Voivodship. Last but not least it proposes a set of guidelines for the integration of environmental and economic objectives in land management.

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  • J. Blazejczak, 1998. "Environment-Economy Integration for Land Maintenance Approaches to Heavy Metal Pollution in the Ruhr Area and in Katowice Voivodship," Working Papers ir98006, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:iasawp:ir98006

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    1. Karen Palmer & Wallace E. Oates & Paul R. Portney, 1995. "Tightening Environmental Standards: The Benefit-Cost or the No-Cost Paradigm?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 119-132, Fall.
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