Complexity and Conundrums in Pollution Control:Improving Effectiveness in Regulatory Compliance

Stephen McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The last century has witnessed a dramatic increase in the wealth of European nations and the well being of their inhabitants. The focus has, however, largely been upon economic growth to the detriment of people and the environment. It is only in recent years that governments have taken cognisance of the impacts of our actions and there is a growing realisation that the causal factors must be identified and addressed as a matter of urgency. One of the key problem areas is pollution and as such environmental protection has become increasingly important as a mechanism for safeguarding the quality of air, water and land. This involves a range of activities from setting standards to monitoring and reporting on discharges and emissions, through to the enforcement of legislation. In theory, this is a simple challenge, in practice, it has proven to be an extremely complex equation that might only begin to be addressed through research. In this context it is strange, and alarming, to find that while it is an axiom of good practice that policy is informed by research there has been a dearth of investigation in this field. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to consider the issue of pollution, how it impacts on the environment, what measures have been established in pursuit of reducing the number of incidences and, most significantly, which strategies might be employed to avoid or ameliorate detrimental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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