PUBH6002 Environmental Risk Assessment: Air Quality In Australia Assessment 1 Report Answer
Air Quality, Australia
The health and well-being of humans are affected by the environment and it is a key determinant of their health. The basic needs of humans are fulfilled by the environment for leading a healthy life which includes clean air and fresh water. Those aspects of health which are related to the environment through chemical, physical, psychological and biological factors are described under the environmental health. Therefore, the monitoring of the environmental health is essential for the rendering key evidences to the decision makers, people of a community and health practitioners for improving the human health. This descriptive report covers the environmental health issues in Australia particularly air quality. The various indicators are used for describing the aspects of the environmental health by using the framework of DPSEEA. It works well for assessing the risks which are linked to the environmental pollution according to Hambling, T., Weinstein, P., & Slaney, D. (2011).
Air pollution is defined as the contamination of the air with hazardous substances which affect the human health adversely and leads to premature death according to Lelieveld, J., et al. (2015). The air pollutants include toxic gases like NO2, greenhouse gases like CO2 and fine particulate matter. The air pollution can be both indoors and outdoors the major sources of outdoor pollution are emissions from gases, power stations, heating in homes and industrial processes. The indoor quality of air is affected by the fuels used for heating and cooking and smoke from tobacco as noted by Leung, D. Y. (2015). The health of humans get affected by the poor outdoor and indoor air quality and exposes them to the risk of respiratory problems specifically for the young and the old people who are suffering from pre-existing health problems according to D'amato, G., et al. (2016).
This framework enables a better analysis of the risks to which the human health is exposed in the form of environmental conditions according to Gentry-Shields, J., & Bartram, J. (2014). With its help a clear representation of the ‘cause-effect’ relationships which exists between the anthropogenic activities, human health and the environmental changes is developed according to Corvalan et al., (1999).
Figure- The DPSEEA framework
Source- Hambling, T., & Slaney, D. (2007).
These are the socioeconomic activities which exercise pressure on the environment. In Australia key findings have pointed out that the growth in population and vehicles have placed increasing pressure on the environment of Australia. The increase in the vehicular emission is directly related to the growth in urban population according to Bhandarkar, S. (2013).
Source- Onselen, L. V. (June 21, 2012).
The above graph shows the growth in the urban population from 2005 and 2016 and Sydney and Melbourne have withnessed in increase in their urban population over the years and thereby experting more pressure on the environment. There are other key drivers which indicate the pressures on the environmental health like the increase in the number of cars in cities according to Hoang, T. A., Chu, N. X., & Van Tran, T. (2017). Following is the graph which shows the increase in the number of cars in the different cities of Australia.
The growth in the number of cars per 100 population indicates that the vehicular emissions have also increased over time leading to deterioration of the environment of these cities and thus exerting pressure on the health of the environment.
Because of the many driving force, pressure is exerted on the environment of a specific geographic location. It includes key aspects of exploitation and use of environment and human habitation as suggested by Friis, R. H. (2018). The pressures on the vehicle emissions are related to the factors like how many kilometers are driven by the different vehicles in the country.
The above graph shows that there has been an increase in the number of kilometers travelled by vehicles leading to increase in the vehicular pollution.
The number of cars kilometers per capita have also increased in different cities across Australia. However, from the graph it is seen that with government intervention and increase in awareness there has been a decline after the 2006 as suggested by Stanley, J., et al. (2018).
Figure- transport emission by traveling mode
Energy consumption has increased in the country in the last thirty years owing to the increase in population and thereby increase in demand for energy. The above graph shows the emission of carbon monoxide from different sources have increased from 1990 to 2012 and is also project to increase by 2030. The increase in the energy consumption has resulted in buring of more fossil fuel and thereby causing more air pollution according to Chen, H., et al. (2016). This leads to poor quality of air in the different cities of Australia.
Source- Williams, J. E., & Price, R. J. (2010).
Changes in the forest cover in a country is also an indicator of increasing pressure on the environmental health of the country according to Jayasooriya, V. M., et al. (2017). From the graph below it is shown that the clearing of land for urbanization and regrowth of forest. The declining figures from 1973 to 1993 have been restored to some extent in 2003 as the net changes approaches to zero.
The present state of quality of air is provided by the ministry of environment of Australia as is reflected from the monitoring of the ambient air which are conducted by the states and the territories according to Department of Environment and Energy of Australia Government (n.d). The following statistics have been derived from these statistics about the quality of indoor air in Australian households.
From the data it is clear that nearly 50% of the illness is caused by the indoor air pollution and 1 in 9 Austtralian is suffering from asthma. The indoor air pollution is ranked as the top five environmental risk to the health of the public.
Figure- Carbon dioxide emissions in Australia
The above graph shows the increase in carbon dioxide emissions in Australia from 1990s to 2015. This reflects that the environmental health has been negatively affected in these years leading to poor environmental health.
Figure- total fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissios from Australia
The above graph shows the total emissions of carbon dioxide from the fossil fuels in Australia and there has been an increasing trend from 1930s to 2010.
After the collection of state indicators the determination of the exposures which are experiended by the people and environment and the exposures can be assessed in various ways as suggested by Waheed, B., Khan, F., & Veitch, B. (2009). The data can be collected from the monitoring sites and it is then extrapolated to find the state in the particular area. For instance, the total kilometers travelled by the vehicels can be used for indicating the peak concnetration of the air contaminants from the emission of the vehicles.
Indicators are developed for assesing the effects of the gases emissions from the vehicles.
There can be health and other effects like the degradation of the surfaces of buildings, climatic changes and effects on the plants. There are a number of health effects which are responsible for hospitalization and premature death according to Lave, L. B., & Seskin, E. P. (2013) and is also responsible for pulmonary diseases according to Kurt, O. K., et al (2016). The various health effects are shown below:
Figure- Health effects from the poor qaulity of air
Visibility is another qualitative indicator which points at the effect of the poor air quality according to Sabetghadam, S., Ahmadi-Givi, F., & Golestani, Y. (2012). Below is the picture of Sydney showing haze indicating high pollution.
Source- Beers, L. M., (October 20, 2016)
Climate Change is an important indicators for assessing the effect of growing pollution according to Kan, H., Chen, R., & Tong, S. (2012). The figure below shows the change in the climate of Australia from 1910 to 2010. And this clearly shows that how anthropogenic development has caused the change in climate of Australia over decades.
Figure- Australian climatic trends
The above points shows that there is need for the government to check the poor air quality in Australia both indoors and outdoors. A range of actions has been implemented by the government like increasing the forest cover through afforestation and increasing infrastructure for public transport to reduce the public dependency on cars and individual vehicles.
- A better planning of transports and management of traffic in an area can help in the reduction of the vehicular pollution. The congestion of traffic must be reduced for improving the quality of air and also for reducing the time in travel according to Krzyżanowski, M., et al. (2005).
- Quality standards of fuel are also to be established by the government. Stress should be given to cleaner fuels like CNGs and electricity according to Zhang, H., et al. (2016).
- Vehicle emission standards should by established whereby the manufacturing of vehicle is done with regards to the standards of emission as suggested by Faiz, A., Weaver, C. S., & Walsh, M. P. (1996).
- Testing of in-service vehicles must be done as the old cars pollute more because they are less fuel efficient as suggested by Lim, M. C., et al. (2007).
- Education of public is important for raising awareness so that they can take steps for avoiding, reducing and mitigating the effects of the vehicular pollution according to Amegah, A. K., & Jaakkola, J. J. (2016).
- Guidelines and national environmental standards have been developed and are implemented in many countries according to Fenger, J. (1999). Public must be made aware of these guidelines and standards for encouraging positive behavior for improving air quality.
- Monitoring programs must be developed for assessing the changes in the indicators so that preventive and punitive action can be taken. As monitoring of indicators can help in reducing air pollution as suggested by Matte, T. D., et al. (2013).
Air quality is important critically for the environmental health of Australia and it has to be considered that it is not possible to cover all the interdependencies which exists between the human health and environment within one set of indicators of environmental health. However, the possible health issues are explored for analyzing the causal relationships between the health outcomes and environmental state for taking suitable actions to protect the environmental health.