Figure 7

Waste intensities in the United States, 1940-1990. Municipal solid-waste (MSW) discards, and sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, indexed to GDP in constant 1987 dollars. SOURCES: Bureau of the Census (1975, 1994).

well established but incomplete. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (1993) estimates coastal discharges of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus), heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, lead, cadmium), and petroleum hydrocarbons in U.S. estuaries in the National Coastal Pollution Discharges Inventory. Estimates of inland nutrient discharges and metals deposition rates are sparse at best. Extending these measures to the entire nation would be laborious but worthwhile from the perspective of national environmental management.

Environmental Trade Index

An environmental trade index indicates the degree to which the nation is retaining or displacing pollution through international trade. Exporting raw materials consumes national resources and scars the domestic landscape. Using domestic industry to convert imported materials into finished goods and prepare indigenous materials for export can damage the environment in other ways. Despite intense interest in the monetary balance of U.S. foreign trade, the environ-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement