Economic Valuation and Environmental Toxicology
Edited by Clive L. Spash and Sandra McNally
Chapter 7: Prioritizing toxic chemical clean-up in Hungary using monetary valuation
John Powell INTRODUCTION The Hungarian people are only now, nine years after the first freely elected government, beginning to realize the full extent of land contamination in their country. Some activities causing contamination, previously kept secret even from those potentially affected, have ceased, though their legacy remains and is proving difficult to remedy in a situation where environmental issues are far from the top of the political agenda. Other activities continue to cause land degradation in a context of poor waste management infrastructure and low levels of enforcement (Lehoczki 1993; Research Triangle Institute 1994). Even where potentially damaging sites have been identified, only a few have been decontaminated effectively because of the scale and complexity of the problems, and the fear that high costs are involved. Little work has been carried out on the economics of contaminated land remediation in Hungary and there have been no attempts to estimate benefits. Even the estimated clean-up costs are often no more than an indication of the order of magnitude of likely costs. This has proved problematic for the government trying to implement a clean-up programme while operating with a very small annual budget. Government agencies involved in financing and regulating land remediation presently rely solely on a complex risk assessment procedure in deciding which sites should be attended to first. There is thus no indication of any returns on resources invested in land remediation. In order to rectify this situation and to ensure that benefits are included in decision making for site...
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