Environment: An Ill Wind From the East

An Ill Wind From the East

Millions of wheezing, watery-eyed, coughing West Germans have learned that they share more than a common border and language with East Germany. They also share pollution, notably the kind that comes from East German power plants, which burn lignite, a high-polluting form of coal. Last week a stagnant high- pressure system trapped foul East German air over West Germany for several days.

Hamburg officials ordered all cars off the road, while factories in Bremen and other cities were forced to reduce their output. West Berlin was the hardest-hit area. For two days pollution alerts were broadcast hourly on local radio and...