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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Industrial location planning: a means to control atmospheric pollution Buchanan, Donald Maclachlan


There appears to be a need for communication between community and regional planners and air pollution control specialists since atmospheric pollution has become one of the chief problems of the present day. A number of professions have approached the study of air pollution and its control in unique ways. The hypothesis is advanced that the control of industrial location by all levels of government in a cooperative manner, taking into account the applicable meteorological factors, would significantly reduce potential atmospheric pollution. Air pollution existed from the earliest times, but it was not until 1273 that legal control was recognized as necessary. After the industrial revolution and a series of acute health episodes in the twentieth century the various effects of atmospheric contamination were discovered. The physical planner has not sufficiently recognized the problem, and should strive to make clean air a goal towards which the planning process is directed. In Canada the British North America Act allocates the responsibility for atmospheric pollution control between the federal and provincial jurisdictions. Engineering control aspects may be given legal force by either government depending on the pollutant source, though the provincial authority appears much broader in scope. Technical abatement methods are complex and costly, and are particularly difficult for both the odourless and detectable gases. Costs of recovery may limit abatement solutions beyond 95% indicating that other methods are required. Performance standards are an attempt to enforce the use of such methods through municipal zoning by-laws, though there is some question as to whether they are necessary with good general regulation of emissions. The national and provincial (or state) governments have been chiefly concerned with industrial location from the socio-economic point of view. Local government has continued to be concerned with physical planning through zoning which both protects residents of the area and guides industrial growth. This power derives from the provincial legislatures in Canada, and not from court interpretations of the extent of community power as in the United States. Air zoning is an attempt to employ meteorological data in larger areas, recognizing that urban complexes themselves have a tremendous effect on climate, and that many factors have to be quantified and assessed. Detailed knowledge of area microclimates is considered to be most important in air zoning decisions. The metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and Edmonton illustrate the approach advocated to control atmospheric pollution. Los Angeles has not yet effectively integrated its air pollution control and planning control administrations, the county being responsible for the former and 70 different authorities for the latter. In Edmonton the administrations have been partially integrated, but in the field of major rezoning decisions no liaison exists. An investigation of the hypothesis by means of a quantifiable method, depending on wind direction and distance variables, reveals that locating air pollutant industries in accordance with meteorological factors could significantly lower potential pollution levels. The hypothesis is deficient in that it does not recognize the complementary need for engineering abatement controls. Many other factors are considered in industrial location planning besides air pollution control, the problem really being that it is not usually considered as a factor. The various aspects of the hypothesis are assessed in order to formulate policy recommendations for research, legislation, and control measures. Federal government leadership manifested through a Canada Air Pollution Control Act is advocated, with accompanying provincial Acts making for a total cooperative approach. The goal of clean air would, therefore, be given substance on a national basis.

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