Smog Follows Hungary's Appetite for Sprawl

<p>Sprawl around Budapest has created a major smog problem for the Hungarian capital.</p>
March 20, 2008, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Indeed, 19 years after the collapse of communism, Budapest's air quality has become a problem again. Pollution exceeded recommended levels 115 days last year, 80 days more than permitted under European Union (EU) guidelines. In late December and early January, the capital experienced one of its most prolonged smog events in a decade."

"When communism imploded in 1989, Budapest's air was atrocious. With their two-cycle engines, fleets of Trabant automobiles spewed black clouds of lead-laden exhaust, while city busses and industrial facilities pumped eye-stinging emissions into the air. During the 1990s the air cleared as factories installed pollution controls, leaded gasoline was banned, and newer, cleaner Western cars replaced dirty Soviet ones."

"But in recent years, those gains have been reversed as many Hungarians now drive to work from increasingly far-flung suburban areas. Lead and sulfur dioxide have been replaced by dangerous concentrations of tiny exhaust particles."

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Published on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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