UNIT 4: GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH



 POLLUTION
                                    and
           HUMAN
           HEALTH


 ...
THE COMPLEX CAUSES OF HEALTH RISK



      The link between different pollution types and the health
of societies – Resear...
ENQUIRY QUESTION 3:

                WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN HEALTH RISK
                               AND POLLUTION?


...
A good reading to begin: An article from the BBC looking at pollution hotspots around the
world. Be aware that the article...
Identify some of the world’s pollution hotspots (also known as pollution clusters) on the map below. Name and shame!
- BBC...
6
List some of the industrial threats discussed in the article on the previous page:
 •   Groundwater contamination
 •
 •
 •...
NITROUS OXIDES (eg. nitrous oxide)
Source (Where      •                                                                  P...
Needed in the
                                                                                       upper
               ...
CHORO-FLURO-CARBONS (CFCs)
Source (Where      •                                                       Point-based or
     ...
LEAD (and other HEAVY METALS)
Source (Where      •                                                     Point-based or
is i...
PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS (eg. DDT)
Source (Where       •                                            Point-based or
is...
WATER POLLUTION (eg. fertilisers, waste)
Source (Where      •                                                  Point-based...
OTHER:
Source (Where      •           Point-based or
is it produced?)               diffuse?
Health risk        •
(How doe...
Classify the above types of pollution into the table below:
Atmospheric                      Hydrospheric                 ...
SPECIFICATION




            Incidental pollution
            Use bullet-points to summarise what happened in some major ...
2. Chernobyl, former Soviet Union; 1986
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/04/inside-chernobyl/stone-text

Place
Where...
3. Harbin, China; 2005
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4462760.stm

Place
Where did it happen?




People
Wh...
4. Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska; 1989
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/24/newsid_4231000/4231971.s...
5. Water pollution at Camelford, Cornwall; 1989
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1989/jun/14/2

Place
Where did it happen?


...
6. Toxic waste dumping, Ivory Coast; 2006
 http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/09/21/2692446.htm
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/...
7. The Great Smog, London; 1952. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2545759.stm

Place
Where did it happen?




People
Who...
8. Your own example.

Place
Where did it happen?




People
Who caused it? Who was affected and how?




Power
What, if an...
Of the incidental pollution events you have studied on these previous pages, which caused the
biggest impact to health in ...
Sustained pollution

1. Consider an example of sustained pollution and its health effects: the link between
greenhouse gas...
2. Consider another example of sustained pollution. Persistent organic pollutants
(POPs) are presenting dangerous risks fo...
3. Consider another example of sustained pollution and its health effects: the link
           between CFCs and skin cance...
Where and by whom is the effect mostly felt? http://www.theozonehole.com/consequences.htm




                            ...
4. A further example of sustained pollution is the ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico.

The map indicates areas of high and...
5. A final example of sustained pollution: lead pollution into the water system of
Washington DC. The pollution began occu...
6. Consider the example of James Hardie and asbestos mining in the Pilbara, Western
Australia. (CWi booklet)

What is asbe...
Stuck? The best examples are ones from
                                                           your previous booklets. ...
Sustained pollution tends to be transboundary in nature. Discuss.




The specification asks you to: “Weigh up the differe...
SPECIFICATION




How would you expect pollution levels to change as a country becomes more developed?




On the graph be...
I don’t have an opinion!
                          Just tell me the answer!




The Environmental Kuznets Curve (1955)
   ...
… And practise yourself (by hand):




Describe and explain the pattern shown by the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC).


...
How does the United Kingdom’s greenhouse emissions match what is expected by the EKC?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...
How does Omran’s epidemiological transition model (1971) correlate with the same curve
above? Describe the level of pollut...
The Kuznets curve and Omran’s epidemiological model essentially predict the same trends for
pollution levels.
            ...
A flow chart describing expected change over time for communities. This flow chart is a combination of
both Omran’s model ...
SPECIFICATION




                                                      This concept lacks Internet resources. Look elsewh...
Which stakeholders would take an interest in a debate over the management of pollution
fatigue? Make a list. For each one,...
Key terms
 Atmospheric (pollution):
                                              Feel free
 Cluster:                     ...
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  1. 1. UNIT 4: GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH POLLUTION and HUMAN HEALTH Ghost town: In 1986 a huge explosion occurred in a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, formerly part of Russia. Two days after the accident, the Russian government shut the entire city down. Offices, shops, hospitals and schools were closed and have remained off limits since that night. Today, only a few people live within 30km-wide exclusion zone. ENQUIRY QUESTION 3 1
  2. 2. THE COMPLEX CAUSES OF HEALTH RISK The link between different pollution types and the health of societies – Research the different types and sources of pollution and the direct threats and effects on health, as well as indirect effects to any society economically. The relative health risks associated with incidental and sustained pollution – Weigh up the difference to any society’s health between one-off incidents such as Bhopal, Chernobyl and Harbin; and longer-term sustained pollution such as ozone pollution and skin cancer, and global warming and malaria spread. The relationship between pollution, economic development and changing health risks – Examine how types and amounts of pollution change with economic development and how, for example, the Kuznets curve and epidemiological models can assist in explaining these factors. The role of pollution fatigue in reducing health risk – Investigate the link between pollution fatigue and the backlash from the public to pressurise for effective management. 2
  3. 3. ENQUIRY QUESTION 3: WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN HEALTH RISK AND POLLUTION? SPECIFICATION Many environmental commentators in the media described the Sydney dust storms in September 2009 as an unusual example of “air pollution”. 3
  4. 4. A good reading to begin: An article from the BBC looking at pollution hotspots around the world. Be aware that the article does not include major recent events (eg. Harbin, China) as it was written back in 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4083331.stm Define ‘pollution’: Does the pollutant necessarily have to be directly man-made? Does your definition therefore encompass the example of the Sydney dust storms? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l7C_KZ0n4A 4
  5. 5. Identify some of the world’s pollution hotspots (also known as pollution clusters) on the map below. Name and shame! - BBC (2004): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4083331.stm - Time Magazine and the Blacksmith Institute: http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1661031_1661028,00.html - The text book’s map is also based on the same information from the Blacksmith Institute (Dunn et al., 2009). 5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. List some of the industrial threats discussed in the article on the previous page: • Groundwater contamination • • • • • • On the following pages, complete the tables by carrying out your own research on the world’s major pollutants. These tables will enable you to link types of pollution with certain health risks and supporting case studies. The skill here is in the mote-making. Eacl cell should have somewhere between one and five bullet-points, each of which should be a concise sentence. After completing the written work, look to add an image, diagram or graph beneath the table. The best reading for most of the pollutants is from Wikipedia (www.wikpedia.org). Remember your referencing! 7
  8. 8. NITROUS OXIDES (eg. nitrous oxide) Source (Where • Point-based or is it produced?) diffuse? Health risk • (How does it harm humans?) Examples of • The scale of the impact: locations/case household, community studies or global scale? Graph showing change in changes in atmospheric nitrous oxide over the last 2,000 years. http://www.geology.iastate.edu/gccourse/chem/nitro/nitroim ages/graph.jpg The biggest source of oxides of nitrogen is transport. Cars such as those in Mexico (left) produce millions of tons of nitrogen oxides every day. 8
  9. 9. Needed in the upper atmosphere but poisonous to humans. OZONE Source (Where • Point-based or is it produced?) diffuse? Health risk • (How does it harm humans?) Examples of • The scale of the impact: locations/case household, community studies or global scale? This red alder leaf has been discoloured by ozone. 9
  10. 10. CHORO-FLURO-CARBONS (CFCs) Source (Where • Point-based or diffuse? All of is it produced?) these Health risk • CFCs pose an indirect threat to human health. tables (How does it • expand harm humans?) on Examples of • The scale of the impact: your locations/case household, community work studies or global scale? from pg.9 in the Since the Montreal Protocol, the use of CFC-producing aerosols has been outlawed. 10
  11. 11. LEAD (and other HEAVY METALS) Source (Where • Point-based or is it produced?) diffuse? Health risk • (How does it harm humans?) Examples of • The scale of the impact: locations/case household, community studies or global scale? Washington residents had their water contaminated with lead in 2005. 11
  12. 12. PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS (eg. DDT) Source (Where • Point-based or is it produced?) diffuse? Health risk • (How does it harm humans?) Examples of • The scale of the impact: locations/case household, community studies or global scale? POPs tend to migrate to areas of low temperatures. They are therefore becoming highly concentrated in the Arctic. The chemicals build up within the food chain and can present health problems for all species. 12
  13. 13. WATER POLLUTION (eg. fertilisers, waste) Source (Where • Point-based or is it produced?) diffuse? Health risk • (How does it harm humans?) Examples of • ‘Dead Zone’, Gulf of Mexico. The scale of the impact: locations/case • The Aral Sea, Kazakhstan and household, community studies Uzbekistan. or global scale? • This was the incredible sight of the Olympic sailing harbour in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics (China). The green colour in the water is a bloom of algae, produced when nutrient levels in the water become too high. 13
  14. 14. OTHER: Source (Where • Point-based or is it produced?) diffuse? Health risk • (How does it harm humans?) Examples of • The scale of the impact: locations/case household, community studies or global scale? 14
  15. 15. Classify the above types of pollution into the table below: Atmospheric Hydrospheric Terrestrial From what you have learnt in the tables above, how can pollution also impact indirectly on a society’s economy? It will also be worthwhile coming back to this question later on. It takes a bit of thought. Should I use my knowledge of case studies to support my answer even though the question hasn’t told me to do so? 15
  16. 16. SPECIFICATION Incidental pollution Use bullet-points to summarise what happened in some major one-off incidents of pollution. See if you can add a photograph for each. 1. Bhopal, India; 1984 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7961062.stm Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? The Bhopal gas leak caused thousands of The first people to suffer from three respiratory conditions case and eye injuries. In studies many ways, they were are the lucky ones. straight Thousands died from the instantly and many spec and more died in the are also ensuing months. covered in the text from pg. 366. 16
  17. 17. 2. Chernobyl, former Soviet Union; 1986 http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/04/inside-chernobyl/stone-text Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? 17
  18. 18. 3. Harbin, China; 2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4462760.stm Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? People from the major Chinese city of Harbin went for days without clean water supplies when a petrochemical spill entered the city’s main river in 2005. 18
  19. 19. 4. Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska; 1989 http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/24/newsid_4231000/4231971.stm Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 was the biggest of its time. The clean-up took weeks of work from hundreds of environmental engineers and volunteers. 19
  20. 20. 5. Water pollution at Camelford, Cornwall; 1989 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1989/jun/14/2 Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? 20
  21. 21. 6. Toxic waste dumping, Ivory Coast; 2006 http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/09/21/2692446.htm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7685561.stm Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? Thousands of locals in the West African country of Ivory Coast were severely injured when an ocean tanker dumped toxic waste along the country’s coastline in 2006. Emails written by employees at the company responsible showed that the dumping was not accidental and that it may have been pre- meditated. 21
  22. 22. 7. The Great Smog, London; 1952. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2545759.stm Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? The Great Smog ofLondon was the worst case of air pollution ever seen in Britain. It caused a major re-think of environmental policy. 22
  23. 23. 8. Your own example. Place Where did it happen? People Who caused it? Who was affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? 23
  24. 24. Of the incidental pollution events you have studied on these previous pages, which caused the biggest impact to health in the surrounding area? Make your judgement based on both health- related and economic impacts. Also remember to consider both the short-term and long-term. Requires you to use information to put forward your opinion. Get used to it! Write this answer over two substantial paragraphs. 24
  25. 25. Sustained pollution 1. Consider an example of sustained pollution and its health effects: the link between greenhouse gas emissions and malaria. Referring to the diagram, explain the link between increased greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Explain the link between global warming and the spread of malaria. Malaria mostly occurs in tropical LEDCs. How does malaria also affect MEDCs? 25
  26. 26. 2. Consider another example of sustained pollution. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are presenting dangerous risks for the health of Arctic ecosystems. POP goes the Arctic The Arctic has a severe problem with persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are chemical substances which accumulate in the food chain, threatening both human and animal health as well as the environment. According to researchers, dangerous levels of POPs have been found in the Arctic's air, snow, water and wildlife. It is thought that POPs, like the pesticide DDT, are carried on air currents from the mid-latitudes of North America, Europe and Asia. Once they reach the Arctic, the harsh climate causes them to freeze into the snow and ice, where they accumulate and concentrate up the food chain. Although the Arctic might seem like a pristine and remote environment, its severe cold actually encourages POPs to enter the system. These pollutants can harm many animals, especially those higher up the food chain. According to some researchers, they may be weakening the immune function of mammals like polar bears as well as causing reproductive problems. From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4083331.stm Explain why this is an example of sustained pollution and not incidental pollution: 26
  27. 27. 3. Consider another example of sustained pollution and its health effects: the link between CFCs and skin cancer rates. Here we are talking about ozone in the upper atmosphere rather than at ground level. From: http://www.theozonehole.com/images/atmosphere-couche.jpg Using the diagram above, explain the link between CFCs and the hole in the ozone layer. When was the link between the ozone layer and skin cancer first proved? 27
  28. 28. Where and by whom is the effect mostly felt? http://www.theozonehole.com/consequences.htm 28
  29. 29. 4. A further example of sustained pollution is the ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. The map indicates areas of high and low oxygen concentration in the water of the Gulf of Mexico. Red indicates low concentration, yellow and green indicates medium concentration and blue is higher concentration. From the Discovery Channel: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2006/10/20/deadzone_pla_zoom0.html?category=animals&guid=20061020143030 What is the Dead Zone? Describe the overall pattern shown. What is the source of pollution causing this event? What is the pathway taken by the pollutants? Describe the associated health risks for humans. The Gulf of Mexico is not the only sink for these types of chemicals. Name two other sinks that are suffering from agricultural run-off and sewage around the world. 1 2 29
  30. 30. 5. A final example of sustained pollution: lead pollution into the water system of Washington DC. The pollution began occurring around 2001 and the levels remained at an unhealthy level for several years subsequently. This case has already appeared in the EQ2 booklet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_contamination_in_Washington,_D.C._drinking_wate r How did Washington residents first find out about the case? What makes this a case of sustained pollution? How did the Washington DC Water and Sewage Association (WASA) cause the pollution? What are the impacts to health of lead poisoning? 30
  31. 31. 6. Consider the example of James Hardie and asbestos mining in the Pilbara, Western Australia. (CWi booklet) What is asbestos used for? Point the arrow toward the Pilbara region to show the location of the pollution source. What are the health effects of asbestos poisoning? How was the pollution managed? 31
  32. 32. Stuck? The best examples are ones from your previous booklets. For example, water Your own example of sustained pollution: pollution and cholera in Zimbabwe. Place Where is it happening? People Who caused it? Who is being affected and how? Power What, if any, action has been taken to stop the pollution? Who will decide on the changes that need to be put in place? 32
  33. 33. Sustained pollution tends to be transboundary in nature. Discuss. The specification asks you to: “Weigh up the difference to a society’s health between one-off incidents and longer- term sustained pollution”. This table will help you to do so. To complete the table, you should use you research on the previous pages. You can then use the table to formulate a response beneath the table. Incidental Pollution Sustained Pollution Eg: CHERNOBYL Eg: CLIMATE CHANGE • • Types of diseases/condition s • • Estimate of numbers affected • • Approximate mortality rates • • Estimated deaths 33
  34. 34. SPECIFICATION How would you expect pollution levels to change as a country becomes more developed? On the graph below, add an arrow to show the linear trend that you would expect. Change in pollution/environmental degradation with increasing development DEG RAD AT I O N Click on the arrow to place it on to the graph. You can stretch it and change its angle. Income (per capita) Describe the relationship you predicted above. 34
  35. 35. I don’t have an opinion! Just tell me the answer! The Environmental Kuznets Curve (1955) Can you label where the UK, China and an LEDC would be on the curve? 35
  36. 36. … And practise yourself (by hand): Describe and explain the pattern shown by the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). In fact, this was not Simon Kuznets’ focus in 1955? He first used the curve to show another relationship (the Kuznets curve). What was the relationship he was initially trying to show? IMPORTANT POINT: It was Grossman and Krueger (1991) who used Kuznets’ 1955 curve to demonstrate the relationship between income and environmental degradation. 36
  37. 37. How does the United Kingdom’s greenhouse emissions match what is expected by the EKC? http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jan/31/climatechange.carbonemissions1 Will China’s growth follow the EKC? http://www.perc.org/pdf/china_enviro_kuznets.pdf (Hayward, 2005) A big article. You may prefer to skim read parts of it. The reading will benefit you because it is written by academics and refers extensively to previous literature. It is one of the few scholarly articles that have been set for reading in the research booklets, and in this sense, you should make an effort to do it properly. Note also the references to the Songhua (the river that runs through Harbin) throughout the article and to Chernobyl at the end of the article. Changing pollution levels in the emerging superpower of China is a favourite example of pollution scientists. Beijing (left) had a major problem with air pollution in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics. 37
  38. 38. How does Omran’s epidemiological transition model (1971) correlate with the same curve above? Describe the level of pollution one would expect in each of the four stages of the model. 1 The Age of Pestilence and Famine 2 The Age of Receding Pandemics (early phase) 3 The Age of Receding Pandemics (late phase) 4 The Age of Man-made and Degenerative Diseases 38
  39. 39. The Kuznets curve and Omran’s epidemiological model essentially predict the same trends for pollution levels. True/False Critics argue that the EKC is not statistically robust, that it does not apply to the full range of environmental impacts, and that it does not account for displacement effects, i.e., the “race to the bottom” whereby richer nations outsource their environmental harmful production functions to poorer nations with weaker environmental controls, resulting in net increases in global pollution. Defenders of the EKC argue optimistically that the EKC is actually dropping and shifting to the left, meaning that the environmental turning point will be reached sooner in the developing world than in today’s wealthy nations. Developing nations, it is thought, will skip over some of the stages of growth and pollution by adopting cleaner technologies earlier and developing regulatory institutions to control pollution. From Hayward, 2005 (again): http://www.perc.org/pdf/china_enviro_kuznets.pdf Do most MEDC’s pollution patterns correlate with the EKC? Explain with evidence from above and from your own reading. You should define and refer to the precautionary principle in your answer. Here is a great question to practise the skill of evaluation (needed for top level answers). In order to do this you need to show an appreciation for different values and perspectives about the EKC. 39
  40. 40. A flow chart describing expected change over time for communities. This flow chart is a combination of both Omran’s model and the Environmental Kusnets’ Curve (EKC): EKC Omran’s Model According to Omran’s model, all countries start off in an age of disease and famine. In this stage, economic and technological development are low, reinforcing a low quality of life. A peak in environmental degradation is reached. This is represented as the turning point in the EKC. 40
  41. 41. SPECIFICATION This concept lacks Internet resources. Look elsewhere! Pollution fatigue What do you think ‘pollution fatigue’ means? According to Dunn et al, 2009, pollution fatigue consists of two main groups of people. Explain. 1. 2. There’s that idea of spatial Where and when do you think pollution fatigue most affects people? and temporal variation again. List some populations suffering from pollution fatigue in your research so far. Summarise each instance in a sentence. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 41
  42. 42. Which stakeholders would take an interest in a debate over the management of pollution fatigue? Make a list. For each one, say briefly why they would have an interest. How does cyber-activism help to address pollution fatigue? Check out the website of the Blacksmith Institute, a body that consults and lobbies on behalf of ‘fatigued’ communities. www.blacksmithinstitute.org Residents form Harbin (China) were forced to stock up on water and fluids when the government announced that water supplies would be cut for days following the toxic spill into the Songhua River. 42
  43. 43. Key terms Atmospheric (pollution): Feel free Cluster: to add your Cyber-activism: own! Dead Zone: Diffuse: Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC): Hydrospheric: Incidental (pollution): Pathway: Point-based: Pollutant: Pollution fatigue: Pollution hotspot: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs): Precautionary principle: Quality of Life Years (QALY): Sink: Source: Sustained (pollution): Terrestrial (pollution): Transboundary: 43

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