Against pollution of every kind

When we hear the word "pollution", it is often images of toxic fumes or industrial chemicals that spring to mind. But pollution can also be biological, sonic, even visual. When he arrived in Quebec, Frédéric Back was struck by the rampant changes to the urban landscape, a kind of visual pollution that has become all too common in many cities where "poorly constructed buildings and the taste for novelty have left only traces of the past." Planners in the 1960s and 70s seemed to have forgotten that cities are meant to be lived in. "The street – noisy, choked with noxious fumes, with strident voices and a rash of billboards competing for attention, has lost all its charm. Dense high-rises have turned them into dirty, wind-swept canyons where the light never penetrates." Today's citizens are more aware of the human, social, environmental and economic costs of pollution, and are trying to put clean air, space and greenery back into their cities. But there is much to be done.