Air pollution: health and environmental impacts

Air pollution: health and environmental impacts
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  Book ReviewAir Pollution – Healthand EnvironmentalImpacts Bhola R. Gurjar, Luisa T. Molina, ChandraS. P. Ojha (Eds.)CRC Press, Boca Raton (FL)ISBN 978-1-4398-0962-4532 pages, $129.95In a current study Gurjar et al. (  Atmos. Environ.  2008 ,  42 , 1593) cite a UnitedNations estimate that in the year 2030 4.9 billionoftheplanet’stotalpopulation of8.1 billionpeoplewillbelivinginso-calledmeg-acities. It is therefore high time that thisproblem is taken board, including the airpollution which will doubtless continue toincrease.Itisrightherethatthisbookplacesits focus and it is precisely this partialdemarcation from the classic themes of atmospheric chemistry that gives the book its appeal. While broader treatments arerelatively common, there are comparatively few monographs which provide a summary of the situation in Asia (especially India), Africa, and Central America. However, italso becomes evident that unfortunately the title of ‘Air Pollution’ only reflects to alimited extent the content of the book. The book is a sturdy, manageable hard-cover with its chapters clearly organizedand with a high quality in both illustrationsand tables. The literature is given in alpha- betical order with titles, and a useful indexis provided. The three editors have divided the book into five sections, each with two to six con-tributions whose contents do, however, insome cases overlap and whose quality must be judged as varying considerably inquality.Following an introduction by the editors,Section I covers monitoring and modeling.Unfortunately, Chapter 2 on the subject of ‘Monitoring’ is incomplete, very brief andthus only of moderate interest. By andlarge the literature is dated and further-more fails to include virtually any of theimportant studies, such as ‘AerosolMeasurement’ by Willeke and Baron. I was better pleased with Chapter 3, which gives a very clear treatment of current modelingmethods.Section II devotes six chapters to the links between air pollution and health effects. I was somewhat disappointed by Chapter 4 with its misleading title of ‘Indoor AirPollution and Health Effects’. Without hav-inganyclearlyrecognizableunderlyingcon-cept the authors cite literature which isuniformly outdated. For example, detailsof the sources (Tables 4.1 and 4.2) date back to 1981. Virtually every important mono-graph and article on the subject of theindoor environment is absent. There is nodoubt that an opportunity has been missedhere since the problems of third-worldcountrieshavestillnotbeengiventheatten-tion they deserve by the indoor air sciences.Chapters 5 to 7, on the other hand, provideinteresting insights into case studies con-cerned with indoor and outdoor air inIndia and Mexico City. More general aspectsare then covered in Chapters 8 and 9, whichdeal with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbonsand the health effects associated withexposure to particles. By this point theambivalence in the book has become clear:It always offers valuable information whenthe focus is on special aspects and studies of developing countries and megacities whileotherchaptersinsomecasesfailtoreachthestandards of comparable literature. The subjects of risk assessment, risk man-agement, air quality management and theenvironmental impacts of air pollution arediscussed in Sections III to V in chapters which are in most cases worth readingand which make intensive reference to thesituations in and problems of the develop-ing countries. There is no doubt that the book couldhave benefited from an even stronger focuson the problems of the Third World and amore attractive title but despite the weak-nesses and deficiencies ofcertain chaptersitis still interesting and worth reading. It willhave a permanent place on my bookshelvesand I will always turn to it when I needinformation about air pollution in develop-ing countries and megacities. However, ot-her works will serve me better whenquestions with a more fundamental orien-tation are concerned. T. Salthammer   Braunschweig  Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2010,  38   (11), 1087 1087  2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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