Book Chapter
Urban Air Pollution in Developing Countries

Problems and Policies

Air pollution control in developing countries has received less attention than other environmental issues such as deforestation and water pollution. However, in the midst of a worsening air-pollution situation, the policy response has been slow, and tends to be based on command-and-control rather than economic incentives. Among point sources: coal-burning for industrial processes and domestic uses is the chief source of SO2 and particulates; the use of biofuels also adds to particulate emissions. Among mobile sources, diesel trucks and buses generate significant amounts of particulates; the rapid increase in the number of vehicles, especially those using two-stroke engines, also contribute significantly to CO, SO2, and NO2 levels. Various arguments against the use of economic incentives for the control of point source pollution are discussed, and these suggest that most of these challenges are not insurmountable. The range of options for control of mobile sources of pollution is also briefly discussed. Transportation controls and changing the incentives to make public transport more attractive and improve vehicle maintenance are considered.