Still Only One Earth: Progress in the 40 Years Since the First UN Conference on the Environment
From “Dilute and Disperse” to “Recycle & Reuse” – Changes in Attitude and Practice of Effluent Management
Published:16 Jul 2015
D. Taylor, in Still Only One Earth: Progress in the 40 Years Since the First UN Conference on the Environment, ed. R. M. Harrison and R. E. Hester, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015, pp. 253-280.
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At the beginning of the 1970s, the time of the first UN Conference on the Human Environment, most of the major rivers in the developed world were in a parlous state with their natural purification capacity far exceeded by the volume of effluents that they were receiving from both industrial and domestic discharges. Since then there have been radical changes both in environmental governance and our understanding of the issues. During the last 40 years many of the problems of the 1970's caused by effluent discharges have been resolved and a dramatic improvement in the aquatic environment has occurred. However, both incremental advances and step changes in scientific knowledge will continue to create new challenges for effluent management in the decades to come.