OSA / Guide / RIP / 1956 / RFE/RL Background Reports : Subjects | Browse | Search

The text below might contain errors as it was reproduced by OCR software from the digitized originals,
also available as Scanned original in PDF.

BOX-FOLDER-REPORT: 35-2-126
TITLE:             Environmental Problems in Hungary
BY:                PP
DATE:              1972-5-23
COUNTRY:           Hungary
ORIGINAL SUBJECT:  Hungary/10
THEMATIC SUBJECTS: Hungary--1966-1975, Environmental Protection, Environmental Sciences

--- Begin ---

RADIO FREE EUROPE Research

EAST EUROPE

This material was prepared for the use of the
editors and policy staff of Radio Free Europe.

HUNGARY/10
23 May 1972

ENVIRONENTAL PROBLEMS IN HUNGARY

Summary: Air pollution was recognized as a
serious problem in Hungary as early as 1952.
During the next 17 years much was done in the
way of research into the causes and effects of
this phenomenon, as well as into the best
methods by which to measure and monitor toxic
substances in the air. It was not until 1969,
however, that any vigorous steps were taken to
reduce the pollution level itself. Unfortunately,
even after this date much has remained in the
planning stage, primarily because Hungary lacks
sufficient capital to purchase or produce the
expensive equipment necessary to do the job.
Air pollution, of course, is not the only
environmental problem facing the country. Since
1962, the Hungarian government has been fighting
water pollution, and since 1966 noise has been
on the agenda as well. While the attention
given to all these matters has been admirable --
least in terms of planning and research --
much yet remains to be done at a practical level
if the various problems are to be solved.

* * *

The preservation of the environment is much discussed
in Hungary today. Besides the general problem, work is going

[page 2]

on in three specific fields: 1) air pollution (which is
the central problem); 2) water pollution; and 3) noise.

Air Pollution: Research and Measurement (1952-1968)

Hungary has been concerned about air pollution since as
long ago as 1952, which perhaps means that the significance
of the question was appreciated there earlier than in the
West. The first national congress dealing with the subject
was organized by the Ministry of Health, and the main item
on the agenda was the quest for methods of protecting cities
and inhabited areas against air pollution of various kinds.
An assistant undersecretary in the ministry, Gyula Vilmon,
said that the matter had to be taken into consideration in
the planning and development of new towns, villages, and
plants. [l]

Little progress was made for several years, and only
in 1959 was the first report published on the work of the
National Institute for Public Health, which had undertaken
an analysis of the proportion of soot, dust, and smoke
produced by industrial plants and apartment houses, and
their effects on health. The institute also disclosed that
the sulfur content of the air in Budapest had increased
by 47.5 per cent in 24 years, and the soot content by 55.5
per cent in 20 years. The greatest accumulation of soot
was detected in the atmosphere over the town of Dorog --
at the center of the Dorog mining district -- and it was
found that five times as many antiasthmatic drugs were
used there as in other mining districts.

The pollution of the air at an altitude of 1,000 to
1,200 m. was measured with the help of pilots of the Hungarian
National Defense Sports Association. Tests started in
------------------------------
(1) Szabad Nep, 17 April 1952.

[page 3]
 
September 1955 over Banhida, where the pollution caused by
the power plant and cement works was analyzed. [2]

Attempts were made to establish the fluctuation and
the territorial spread of air pollution, and work started
on an air pollution map of Budapest, in the course of which
the proportion of dust, germs, soot, sulfides, chlorine,
and carbon dioxide in the Budapest atmosphere was determined.
It was found that the air over the capital contained
harmful pollution not only during the heating season but also
at other times, and that its soot, carbon dioxide, and
clorine content was far beyond the permissible limit in the
fall of 1959. It was proved that the pollution of the
Budapest air had considerably increased over past decades;
one reason for this was that the central heating of plants,
apartment houses, and private dwellings was inefficient. [3]

At this time the first administrative step was taken
when the executive committee of the Budapest City Council
established the Budapest Committee for Clean Air, headed by
the director of the Public Health and Epidemiological Station.
The station was commissioned to draw up Hungary's first bill
on air protection, and it was announced that until the law
was formally enacted firm measures would be taken against
industrial plants polluting the air. [4]

The associated legislation took a long time, and for
about two years all that happened was that analysis of the
air continued. Early in 1960 research was extended to cover
not only dust and soot content, but also to establish the
extent of gas pollution and the content of carbon monoxide and
------------------------------
(2) Nepszabadsag, 15 August 1959.
(3) Magyar Nemzet, 9 October 1959.
(4) Ibid.

[page 4]

other by-products of the automobile. The collection of
meteorological data continued and it was established that
during the winter cities were exposed to less ultraviolet
radiation than at other times -- mostly because of soot
and smoke. [5]

During the winter of 1961 a national congress on
hygiene was convened in Pecs. The main item on the agenda
was air pollution and the problem of preventing a further
deterioration of the situation. The congress was concerned
about the fact that Budapest and Pecs were among the most
polluted cities in the world, but the only conclusion reached
was that the long-planned antipollution law should be enacted
and that it was the only means preventing worse things from
happening. [6] Early in 1962 various authorities in the
capital turned their attention to air pollution; it was
generally agreed that the only real solution would be the
introduction of district heating; this, however, was
possible only in the long term. By 1962 it had become evident
that factory smóke and soot were a serious problem in 20
industrial cities in addition to the capital. [7]

The efforts to pass national anti-pollution legislation
were apparently in vain, and there is nothing to suggest
that the National Assembly planned the enactment of such a
law. But the Budapest City Council was well aware that
something had to be done, and duly approved a decree on air
pollution. The decree laid down that the health departments
of the borough councils should keep a record of industrial
plants and other working places which pollute the air with
smoke, soot, sulfur dioxide, and other gases and materials
------------------------------
(5) Nepszabadsag, 15 August 1959.

(6) Hetfoi Hirek, 11 December 1961.

(7) Nepszava, 6 February 1962.

[page 5]

harmful to health. It was also laid down that complaints
should be submitted to the health departments of the borough
councils. [8]

In the course of the year the Public Health and
Epidemiological Station received its first Bosch device
for the measurement of smog. With the help of this device
"smog norms" were established, but unfortunately a single
device was not enough to monitor automobiles, which are major
offenders in this respect. By May 1963, dust pollution had
reached 12.35 grams per square meter. [9] The passing of the
air pollution decree made possible a regular survey of the
possibilities of modernizing the technology and equipment of
plants which pollute the air, and the chairman of the
National Planning Board ordered that in assessing investment
plans, account had to be taken of whether the statutory
requirements concerning air pollution had been fulfilled.

The country's leading expert on air pollution and a
powerful advocate of action, chief engineer Karoly Reminiczky
(head of the Aerosol Committee of the Scientific Society for
Power Economy), delivered a lecture which helped to establish
that the smoke of Budapest's industrial plants carried 4,750 ton
of sulfur into the air every month during 1960. [10]

No concrete measures to eliminate the problem were taken
between 1964 and 1969, but various authorities kept tabs on
the situation -- Budapest City Council, apartment house
maintenance boards, the Public Health and Epidemiological Station,
the National Planning Board, the ministries, the Aerosol
Scientific Society, the National Institute for Public Health --
and they recorded 500 major air pollution sources in Budapest. [11]
------------------------------
(8) Magyar Nemzet, 26 January 1963.

(9) Esti Hirlap, 20 July 1963.

(10) Ibid., 2 September 1963.

(11) Magyar Nemzet, 15 January 1964.

[page 6]

Air Pollution: Launching the Attack (1969-1972)

It took until 1969 for those responsible to realize
that only an organization with adequate authority would be
able to clean up the air. The specialists came to the
conclusion that the most practical course would be to
establish a central agency in the Building Industry Institute
for Testing Materials. At the same time the government
Economic Committee passed a resolution on the establishment
of a National Antipollution Committee to report on what
needed to be done to achieve cleaner air, and to develop
guidelines for a related investment policy. Its members
are the head of the Local Council Department of the Council
of Ministers; the Ministers of the Interior, Transport and
Telecommunications, Public Health, Heavy Industry, Metallurgy
and the Machine Industry, and Agriculture and Food; the
chairmen of the National Council of Trade Unions (SZOT),
the National Water Conservation Office, the Executive
Committee of the City Council of Budapest, and the Central
Meteorological Institute; and the director of the National
Office for the Protection of Nature. This committee started
work on 1 January 1970. [12]

Defining the new body's terms of reference proved to
be a very slow process and no final decision was made in
1970 on the question of the committee's authority on the
national level -- which was surprising, because the authorities
were well aware that such a committee, functioning efficiently,
could not only save the country hundreds of millions of forint
but could also protect the health of the people, something
whose value cannot be measured in forint. [13]

The fact that the measures taken prior to 1970 were
ineffective was clearly shown by such things as the faulty siting
of the Pecs Thermal Plant, which resulted in smoke and soot
------------------------------
(12) Magyar Hirlap, 25 November 1969.

(13) Wepszava, 4 October 1970.

[page 7]

contamination stemming from weather and geographical factors.
Again, the Hotel Intercontinental, located on the banks of
the Danube, and the skyscraper in Attila Street, just across
the Danube, were built in the middle of the "air corridor"
serving downtown Budapest, and almost closed it off. [14]

Investigation made it clear that the main enemy of clean
air in the capital is the automobile. Trucks and buses
emitting diesel fumes, and gasoline-driven motorcycles and
passenger cars cause 40-80 per cent of Budapest's air
pollution, and not only effect human respiratory organs and blood
circulation but also corrode buildings and monuments.

The relevant decree states that the driver of a motor
vehicle emitting excessive quantities of fumes is not allowed
to operate it in the public streets and must refuse to drive
it, while the owner is legally bound to prevent its being
so driven. The instruments needed for the measurement of
fumes emitted by gasoline engines are not yet available,
but in the case of diesel vehicles stricter control and
more severe punishment of offenders are now possible. [15]

As the problems of air pollution have increased, the
authorities have come to realize that pollution is a major
problem not only in Budapest but also in the provinces. Nine
districts of Hungary (in addition to the capital) have been
declared polluted regions. In Western Hungary, Veszprem,
Varpalota, and the industrial basin of Szekesfehervar are
heavily polluted, and contamination in the neighborhood of
Veszprem is affecting the atmosphere of the Lake Balaton
highlands. There is some pollution in the neighborhood of
the industrial plants in Pecs and Komlo (southern Hungary)
and in the mining districts of Tatabanya and Oroszlanybanya
(northwestern Hungary), while the industrial plans of
Almasfüzito, Komarom, and Nyergesujfalu (northwest Hungary) are not
only poisoning the local air but also endangering the atmosphere
------------------------------
(14) Ibid.

(15) Esti Hirlap, 19 April 1971.

[page 8]

of resorts on the Danube. When the wind blows, the Gyor
industrial plants' smog is carried to the farming country
in the region and damages the crops. The atmosphere over
Labatlan, Dorog, Esztergom, and Tokod (north of Budapest)
is full of poisonous gases and endangers the fresh air of
the Pilis mountains and the Danube Bend. In the industrial
district stretching from Tiszaszederkeny to Ozd (northwestern
Hungary), a large amount of harmful dirt gets into the air
and even into the water and soil. In the industrial
districts of Hatvan, Gyongyos, Salgotarjan, and the Zagyva
Valley (north central Hungary), much remains to be done
before the air is made tolerably clean. [16]

In view of the situation in the capital and the
provinces, 17 especially polluted districts and towns have
been nominated as most urgently in need of emergency
treatment. The sulfur dioxide content of the air in such
areas is alarming, and in 1970 it had increased to three times
the permissible limit in the district of Dorog and to five
times the tolerable maximum in the industrial districts of
Budapest. [17]

Acrimonious and lengthy law suits have been filed by
the City of Budapest against large numbers of big enterprises
and industrial plants because of the contamination which they
cause. This litigation is reflected in a copious literature
of press articles, indignant reports, and complaints on the
one hand, and reassuring answers and vague promises on the
other. The courts have issued a number of categorical orders
to enterprises that they must move within a specified time,
but decisions and firm warnings alike are apparently ignored
by offenders. [18] The press has sadly recorded that plants
and enterprises ordered to move elsewhere have fought successful
------------------------------
(16) Magyar Hirlap, 25 November 1969.

(17) Nepszava, 4 October 1970.

(18) Radio Budapest, 15 September 1970.

[page 9]

delaying actions, and has found that the general managers
of most plants refuse even to talk about resettlement. The
most common excuse is that to move would be too expensive.

So far as is known, only one enterprise -- after many
years of squabbling -- has complied with the order to move
elsewhere. This is an enterprise producing protein fodder
which was located in Illatos Road in Budapest. Local residents
waged a bitter war against the enterprise for years, demanding
that it should leave the Budapest area. When the wind blew in
wrong direction, tenants in the Attila Jozsef housing settlement
were unable to open their windows because of the unbearable
stench of decomposing protein. Even plant life withered away,
and in the end the enterprise was forced to yield before the
barrage of complaints. [19]

By 1971 the stature of the problem of air pollution had
been properly recognized. The battle against it is now being
waged with some vigor, and those responsible have realized
that considerable material resources will be needed if the
struggle is to succeed. Research and technical development
work as well as modernization will have to be paid for.

New plants must, of course, have the most modern
equipment, but the cost of providing it cannot be borne entirely
by existing plants, and state subsidies will obviously be
needed. Appropriate proposals were prepared by the
anti-pollution committee and it was hoped that the government would
make the necessary money available in 1971. [20]

In March 1971, the Council of Ministers dealt with the
problem of air pollution and passed a number of important
resolutions. A map of the most seriously affected regions
was prepared, showing the areas which became endangered later
than others as a result of their slower rate of industrialization.
------------------------------
(19) Magyar Nemzet, 2 September 1970.

(20) Nepszabadsag, 31 January 1971.

[page 10]

In each locality the industrial branches, enterprises, and
plants which are especially harmful to the cleanness of the
air were also identified, and they will be obliged to take
remedial action. The resolution authorized the ministers
concerned to suspend the operations of major offenders until
adequate purifying apparatus was brought into use. [21]

The most significant of the government resolutions
thus far is one which introduced the payment of contributions
for 1971 and 1972 to cover the cost of antipollution measures.
There are four rates of payment, which very according to
the seriousness of the pollution. The measure covers (for
the time being) 1971 and 1972, and the payment is classified
as a contribution because the pollution norms of the most
noxious materials will not be worked out until the end of
1972. After then plants with worse than normal records
will have to pay progressively higher penalties. [22]

A national, air purification fund is being built up
from these contributions and penalties, which will be used
for the installation of purifying equipment to eliminate or
reduce contamination of the air. [23]

The antipollution committee has found that 70-80 per
cent of Budapest's buses emit too much smoke, and from the
beginning of this year the Budapest Transport Enterprise has
been fined when its buses emit; excessive fumes. [24]

Another regulation provides that in downtown Budapest
the use of coal briquettes and liquid fuel with a sulfur content
of more than 1 per cent must cease by 1 October 1972.
Apartment houses with central heating -- with the exception of the
13th district -- must change to gas heating and an insignificant
number of them to oil heating. District heating will be extended
------------------------------
(21) Magyar Hirlap, 13 March 1971.

(22) Nepszava, 12 March 1971.

(23) Magyar Hirlap, 29 January 1972.

(24) Esti Hirlap, 4 December 1971.

[page 11]

in the 13th district. The estate maintenance office in the
fifth district got behind with its work and by December 1971
the change had been effected in only 37 buildings with
individual heating, while not even a planning contract had
been drawn up in respect of 151 others. [25]

Another way of affording some protection against air
pollution is the establishment of forest belts. According
to scientific surveys, in a number of cities air pollution could
be reduced to one fifth by this means, and it is planned to
surround the cities in the Great Hungarian Plain with forest
belts, breaks, and park land. [26] A large-scale afforestation
program has also been worked out for Pest County. It is hoped
to improve Budapest's air by establishing new places of
recreation, and under this plan 40,000 acres of land will be
afforested by 1985.

In the first half of 1971, the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences discussed the amenity aspects of forests, and the
country's most eminent experts discussed the importance of
protecting nature and the environment. In early 1972, the
Sopron University of Forestry and the Lumber Industry created
a faculty of country planning and. environmental protection,
which underlines the importance of planting new forests. [27]

Water Pollution: A More Recent Problem

Twenty years ago water pollution was unknown in Hungary,
but in the course of the past few years the situation has
deteriorated rapidly and today the industrial plants have been
joined by the farms in adulterating the country's water, thanks
to the latter's increased use of pesticides. Hungary's largest
river, the Danube, enters the country already polluted.' The
upper part of the second largest river, the Tisza, is still
------------------------------
(25) Ibid.

(26) Magyar Nemzet, 2 July 1971.

(27) Esti Hirlap, 14 March 1972.

[page 12]

clean, but its tributaries pollute its waters further
downstream. [28] Another major problem all over the country is
sewage and waste water, which are flushed into the country's
rivers more than 20 times a year -- mostly from the industrial
plants. The greatest problem is in Budapest, where most of
the domestic sewage and industrial waste water pour into
the Danube without purification, creating a bacteriological
danger. The Danube south of Budapest is completely unfit
for bathing and even for water sports, and its self-[p]urifying
capacity is inadequate to the task. The industrial plants
along its banks, together with the capital, produce so much
pollution that the stream is unable to neutralize it before
reaching the Hungarian border. [29] As a result of pollution
about 2,000 quintals (440,0001b. avoirdupois) of fish perished
in Hungarian rivers in 1970, and during the past decade the
cost of the damage caused by pollution has increased
eight-fold. The number of cases of what the experts call "acute
destruction" has increased to 20 annually. Decree No.4/1964
on water conservation was designed to protect the country's
waters both quantitatively and qualitatively, and laid down
that any plants causing water contamination may be built
and operated only if a purifying apparatus is used.

Although the water authorities have imposed fines on
contaminating effluents since 1962, a 1969 government
resolution made the penalties progressive, and it is now cheaper for
enterprises to install purification equipment than to pay
fines. Enterprises and communities have now become economically
interested in the construction of purifiers. [30]

In 1969 some 520 enterprises were penalized for water
pollution. There was some improvement in 1971, and the
large-scale plants have at last started the planning and installation
of purifiers. The Csepel Iron and Metal Works spent 200,000,000
forint on a system of this sort; a purifier is under construction
------------------------------
(28) Magyar Nemzet, 14 January 1972.

(29) Figyelo, 24 February 1971.

(30) Magyar Nemzet, 16 February 1971.

[page 13]

at the Lenin Metallurgical Works;  and the Fuzfo Nitrochemical
Industrial Plant already has in operation a biological purifier
capable of handling 2,000 cubic meters of waste water daily. [31]

The introduction of progressive penalties has had some
success, because they have stimulated large enterprises to
introduce waste water purifiers as quickly as possible.  The
Borsod Chemical Combine, for example, was fined almost
30,000,000 forint in 1970 because it had failed for years to
modernize its purifier.  In Baja, the Ganz Coupling Works --
after paying fines of several million forint -- constructed a
purifier and detoxifying apparatus within a few months. [32]

The large-scale installation of water purifiers is
hampered by lack of agreement over methods.  The institutes,
farms, and researchers are divided into two parties, one
recommending biological purification and the other the use
of waste water for agricultural irrigation.  At first the
supporters of the former theory seemed to be winning, but
later it was decided that in view of the cost of biological
purification and the inadequate techniques available, the
second method should be preferred.  An experimental program
of irrigation with waste water is being carried on in
Kecskemet. [33]

One of the greatest problems facing Hungary in this
context is the cleanliness of Lake Balaton, and the authorities
are determined that the well-known purity of its water and air
(as well as its fauna and flora) must be protected at all
costs. The press often says that Lake Balaton has become the
last refuge of foreign motorboats, which are banned from almost
all the lakes of Europe, and they may well be forbidden on Lake
Balaton in the near future.  In the summer of 1971, on the shores,
inlets, basins, and beaches  of the lake more and more oil spots
could be detected, and some larger areas were being damaged by oil.
The suffocating -exhaust  gases of the boats settle upon tens
of thousands of bathers in periods of calm. [34]
------------------------------
(31)  Nepszava,  11 August 1971.
(32)  Ibid.
(33)  Radio Budapest, 22 August 1971.
(34)  Magyar Nemzet,  2 November 1971.

[page 14]

The government realizes the significance of the problem
and has instructed the Central People's Control Committee
to examine how effectively the 1964 decree on the prevention
of water pollution is being enforced. Not only must violators of
the decree be exposed, but new ideas for solving the problem
must be found. This will be the responsibility of the Institute
for Water Conservancy and Hydraulics in the Budapest University
of Technology, where a research group has been established.

The group has started large-scale research -- which will
occupy several years -- in the course of which it will
examine thoroughly the pollution of the Budapest section of
the Danube. Only with a full knowledge of the facts can the
necessary measures be taken; up to now, only rough estimates
has been available of how much waste and sewage flow into the
Danube from the plants and houses. In the course of the survey
of the section between Nagymaros and Szazhalombatta the most
harmful sources of effluent have been located and a number of
the enterprises and plants responsible have been identified.
Chemicals are especially harmful and oil pollution is getting
much worse as a result of increased traffic on the water. [35]

Noise

Since 1966 the authorities have been concerned about
the stress effects of living in large cities, to which noise
is a contributory factor. Continuous noise, or living in an
environment characterized by it, can lead to deterioration of
hearing and even to high blood pressure. Government Decree
No.29/1969, known as the "noise law," includes damage to
hearing in the accepted list of occupational diseases. [36]

Protective measures are both technical and hygienic.
Reduction of noise is primarily a technical matter, and new
machines and automatic equipment must be constructed to operate
as noiselessly as possible; the problem is of course more
------------------------------
(35) Komarom Megyei Dolgozok Lapja, 28 March 1972.
(36) Dunantuli Naplo, 22 March 1972.

[page 15]

difficult in the case of a plant using old machinery.
Unfortunately, there are only a few specialists who are
capable of planning noise reduction, but the situation is
improving because, since 1 July 1971, damage to health
caused by noise (i.e., deafness and hardness of hearing
suffered at a person's place of work) have been listed among the
occupational diseases which create a liability for
compensation, and this has stimulated the general managers of plants
to take precautionary measures. [37]

One of Budapest's major noise problems is created
by its fleet of buses', of which 800-900 are beyond
reconditioning. This particular difficulty will remain until they are
scrapped.

The Bureau for the Protection of Nature

From time to time the Hungarian press carries reports
on the environmental problems which arise in Western countries,
and the point is usually made that environmental protection
is a problem which is assuming ever greater importance in all
countries of the world. It is also noted that the struggle
against air pollution in the developed industrial countries
is regarded as a cardinal problem. And that a host of
specialists are working on it. [38]

In Hungary the action which has been taken on environmental
conservation is based on a 1961 decree which authorized the
establishment of a National Bureau for the Protection of
Nature, whose mandate is to preserve the natural resources
of the country. The bureau has established protected districts
in which the landscape must preserve the original character
of the region as a whole, and construction which might
endanger this principle, or changes in cultivation such as the
plowing up of vineyards, are not allowed. In protected areas
anu disturbance of the flora and fauna, as well as geological
------------------------------
(37) Nepszava, 28 February 1971.
(38) Magyar Hirlap, 25 November 1969.

[page 16]

configuration, is prohibited. The primary duty of the bureau
is to protect Hungary's water, soil, and air, and since the
decree states that this is also the responsibility of all
administrative bodies, the bureau collaborates with almost
all the country's ministries and major authorities. It has
nationwide authority, and this means that in making important
decisions the opinion and advice of specialists on nature
conservancy must be taken into consideration when construction
is planned which will change or disturb the landscape. [39]

A comprehensive program is being prepared to allocate
responsibility for environmental protection among industry,
agriculture, and other branches, and to determine how much
this preventive work is going to cost. [40]

Earlier this year, the subject of environmental protection
was introduced into the university curriculum, and second-year
. students at the University of Mosonmagyarovar will study the
associated problems in a course lasting five semesters. [41]

The question of environmental projection was initially
raised in Hungary by the health authorities. Air pollution
was considered a health issue, although the health aspects of
it are in fact only consequences, while the basic nature of
the problem is technical: it involves technology in general
and power supplies in particular, and is related to urban
planning. This last point has asserted itself over the years,
and the Ministry of Public Construction and Urban Development
is now in charge of the co-ordination of the action required
in connection with environmental protection; the head of the
department concerned is Deputy Minister Lajos Szilagyi.

There is naturally no open opposition to environmental
conservation, although the enterprises and plants affected
------------------------------
(39) Ibid., 23 December 1970.
(40) Ibid., 29 January 1972.
(41) Esti Hirlaio, 14 March 1972.

[page 17]

have sometimes delayed taking the necessary action (on the
plea of shortage of funds) until the government has had to
impose penalties on them.

International Co-operation

Joint planning on environmental protection by the Comecon
countries has been mentioned only once. [42]  At the end of
1971 the Hungarian government approved a domestic program based
on a Comecon research plan, and a number of ministries and
national agencies are helping to implement it.  This project
is also supervised by the Ministry of Public Construction and
Urban Development, and its most important features are
protection of the atmosphere against pollution;  collection and
utilization of garbage; and working out the underlying social, economic,
planning, and legal principles.

Not much has been published in connection with
Hungarian-Western co-operation in this field, although it is known that
the Hungarian government has been preparing for the UN
environmental conference which is to be held in 1972. [43]  A comprehensive
co-ordinated research program has been worked out in this
connection which includes collaboration among various scientific
branches.  This, too, has been the responsibility of the
Ministry of Public Construction and Urban Development.  Aside
from the environmental conference, Hungary has participated in
intergovernmental", negotiations and discussion on ecological
matter within the framework of UNESCO. [44]

The Hungarian public is just as interested in the problems
of environmental protection as its Western counterparts, but
the general impression that emerges is that most of what has been
------------------------------
(42) Magyar Hirlap, 29 January 1972.
(43)  Magyar Nemzet,  12 November 1970.
(44)  Ibid., 11 November 1970.

[page 18]

said on the matter in Hungary has not been translated into
practice. There is no doubt that a number of important proposals
have been put forward, but action on them is still in the
initial stages, and there can be no question of substantial
progress until the government makes available much more money.
Adequate protection requires costly investments, and as long
as this is impossible there is little hope of effective action
against environmental damage. Ecology seems likely to remain
a major problem in Hungary during the next decade.

PP
Hungarian Unit

  OSA / Guide / RIP / 1956 / RFE/RL Background Reports : Subjects | Browse | Search

© 1995-2006 Open Society Archives at Central European University