Levegõ Munkacsoport — Clean
Air Action Group
A Short History of the Organization
Clean Air Action Group
The Clean Air Action Group (Levegõ Munkacsoport) is one of the best known alternative social organiza-tions in Hungary dealing with environmental problems. The Group was initiated in November 1988 by the Green Circle of the Budapest Technical University, the Nature Conservation Club of the „Eötvös Loránd” University and the Esperantists' Nature Protection Organization. Today it is an umbrella organization of 45 NGO's. Independent specialists of various professions (medicine, automotive engineering, economics, geology, meteorology, chemistry, ecology, etc.) also take part in our work. The Group is open to everyone who is ready to cooperate with us regardless of his or her political beliefs or party membership. The Group meets every second week to discuss current events, elaborate viewpoints on various issues connected with environmental pollution and make decisions on concrete actions.
Hungarian Traffic Club
In November 1991 members of the Clean Air Action Group created the Hungarian Traffic Club (Magyar Közlekedési Klub — MKK). By creating MKK we followed the example of very successful similar organi-zations in Western Europe which target transport isssues. While the Clean Air Action Group is dealing with many issues, the Hungarian Traffic Club deals only with transport and this way it could unite the experts and organizations interested in this specific field. In February 1992 the MKK was accepted full member of the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E).
44% of the Hungarian population live in areas with very serious air pollution. For example in many places in Budapest (a city with 2 million people) the level of air pollution is much higher than permitted by the Hungarian health standards. Measurements made in several streets with dense traffic showed that the concentration of lead in the air was up to 27 times, dust 1.8 times, formaldehyde 8 times higher than permitted by these standards. The concentrations of several hydrocarbons (including highly carcinogenic substances) as well as that of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides were also over the limits. According to recent health examinations in Budapest many children have more lead in their body than is permitted for an adult industrial worker! In the last twenty years the number people suffering from asthma and lung cancer rose 12 and 3 fold respectively. Hungary now has the lowest life expectancy in Europe. Air pollution in Hungarian cities is caused mainly by motor vehicles and to a lesser extent by industry and households. In Budapest 98% of the carbon monoxide that we breath, 93% of the nitrogen oxides, 97% of the hydrocarbons, 97% of the lead, 60% of the sulphur dioxide and 40% of the dust and soot comes from motor vehicles.