Environmental laws in many countries have been passed rapidly but their implementation has not always been possible, either because the laws have been too ambitious or unrealistic, or because ther have lacked effective instrumentation and institutional support. Some environmental laws have failed as they do not take the institutional capabilities of the society that has to implement them into consideration.
The existence of competent national, regional and local environmental authorities within government structres, with the legal power to define and enforce environmental laws and make decisions, is essential. Appropiately7 equipped and staffed laboratories, infraestructure and economic resources for field monitoring, assessment and research, as well as close cooperation with technical experts are indispensable.
Pollutants discharge standards in most developing countries are rigid and disgregad specific site conditions. Instead of a gradual approach as called for, which would phase installation of treatment facilities (for example the physicochemical first, followed by the biological treatment and appropiate sludge hadling), a taner is under pressure to put up a complete treatment system and meet all discharge limitations at once which is beyond his financial and technical means.
It is very often overlooked that many a tanner has to be sensitised to the importance of pollution abatement, become aware of the potential and limitations of low waste proccesing mathods, and be given the opportunity to learn how to deal with environmental issues.
Worls Leather would welcome further information on legislation in countries with a significant taning sector not yer included as well as supplementary information on and/or corrections of the tables given in this paper.