Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics
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Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics

Edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

This major reference book comprises specially commissioned surveys in environmental and resource economics written by an international team of experts. Authoritative yet accessible, each entry provides a state-of-the-art summary of key areas that will be invaluable to researchers, practitioners and advanced students.
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Chapter 36: Non-point Source Pollution Control

A. Xepapadeas


Anas tasios Xepapadeas 1. Introduction In contrast to point source (PS) pollution problems where the source, the size and the distinctive characteristics of the discharges can be identified with sufficient accuracy at a non-prohibitive cost, in non-point source (NPS) pollution problems neither the source nor the size of the individual emissions can be observed by an environmental regulator seeking to implement a given environmental policy. Both in theoretical and applied environmental economics, PS pollution problems have traditionally been associated with large industrial or municipal emissions, while NPS pollution problems relate mostly to emissions by small sources like farmers or households, or mobile sources such as vehicles. The pollution that these sources generate mainly includes nutrient pollution, pesticide pollution, sedimentation, vehicle pollution, and hazardous and solid wastes. The significance of NPS type pollution is indicated by the fact that part of the degradation of many of the world’s lakes and reservoirs can be traced to this type. Degradation is due to a number of factors, including eutrophication, which results from accelerated nutrient loading due to expanded farming practices; toxic substances entering the water bodies as agricultural runoff along with forestry drainage, which includes a range of toxic pesticides and herbicides; accelerated sedimentation caused by farming on fragile soils and steep slopes, forestry activities, construction activities and urban drainage; acidification of aquatic systems from emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides due to acid rain or through leaching from affected land. In all of these cases monitoring of the individual emissions which...

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