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NATURE: Coal-burning in China cuts more than 5 years off the life expectancy of 500 million people

NATURE: Coal-burning in China cuts more than 5 years off the life expectancy of 500 million people | Geographical Processes | Scoop.it
Historical study links higher levels of pollution to higher mortality.

 

In the same northern areas of China where government used to provide free coal for heating, particulate matter in the air was 55% higher — and respiratory ailments shortened life expectancy by five years. High levels of particulates from coal burning in China’s highly polluted north may have cut more than five years from life expectancy for the 500 million people who lived there in the 1990s, scientists report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study can help to forecast the health effects of pollution in present-day China — where air quality has only gotten worse — as well as in other countries.

 

Chinese air pollution made global headlines during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again this winter, when particulate levels in Beijing exceeded 700 micrograms per cubic metre — more than 50 times higher than those allowed by US air-quality standards.

 

But prior efforts to quantify the long-term risks of living in such conditions have been problematic, says Michael Greenstone, an environmental economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and a co-author of the latest study. That’s because earlier studies attempted to extrapolate health effects from US data, where even in the most polluted cities particulate levels are an order of magnitude lower than those found in China. Data for the health effects of high pollution levels are scarce, he says.

 

To fill the gap, Greenstone and his colleagues looked into the effects of a Chinese government policy that from 1950 to 1980 provided free coal for heating to people in the region north of the Huai River and the Qinling mountain range, a fairly traditional demarcation between northern and southern China.

 

The goal of the Huai River Policy was to provide a minimum of heating resources to those who most needed them. But in the process it accidentally provided an unintended experiment in which people north of the river were exposed to air particulate levels 55% higher than those to the south, with reported levels reaching 550 micrograms per cubic meter.

Adding to the impact was that during this period, Chinese citizens tended to stay in one city, breathing the same air, rather than moving away.

 

“There was not a lot of migration,” Greenstone says. “In fact, it was restricted by law.” Furthermore, the policy left a legacy of higher coal use north of the dividing line, where to this day homes are more likely to have coal-fired heating built decades ago.

 

Comparing Chinese air pollution and health data, Greenstone and colleagues found a marked jump not only in death rates, but in a single air-pollution variable — particulates — right at the Huai River line. Even more strikingly, the increased death rate north of the line was entirely due to cardiorespiratory illnesses.

 

Even though the study was based on data from two decades ago, the researchers say it can help to predict the health effects of the current levels of atmospheric pollution, which are even higher than in the 1990s. The finding, Greenstone says, is useful information to developing countries trying to find the balance between economic growth and environmental health. But it could also play a role in global climate-change debates.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Grace Macpherson's insight:

This article suggests that due to the extreme amounts of pollutants in the air, those that lived in the north region of China have a lower life expectancy compared to other regions, especially those living in there through the 1990's. The porr air quality in the north but also throughout the rest of china has major health effects on it's pooluation. The results published are targetd to the north reigion and particularly around the Huai River and Qinling mountain ranges. The reason for this is primarily due to what's known as the 'Haui river Policy', a governmnet funded policy, wich provided free heating to the people. But it caused large amounts of pollution in the air, degrading the air qaulity. This reigion is most effected because of the coal buring, but also because as suggested in the article during the 1900's their was a large migration to this area, increasing the pollution, also people tended to stay in the one city, breathing the same air, rather than moving.

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Welfare rates the lowest nationally - The Canberra Times

Welfare rates the lowest nationally - The Canberra Times | Geographical Processes | Scoop.it
Welfare rates the lowest nationally The Canberra Times "[The ACT] has very high employment rates, it's got younger age structure than the rest of the population and it has the least unequal distribution of income of any area in Australia, there's a...

Via LR Library
Grace Macpherson's insight:

The rates of peple on welfare payemnts in Canberra has fallen steadily from one in five to about one in ten. This drop is a good sign and thought to continue to fall further, it is due to the high employment rates and the equal distribution of income ( the best in Australia). This article finds that more people are finsishing school and continuing onto university, bringing down the rate of women going onto the pension. Canberra is not a big city yet it does have large buisinesses and corporations providing work for many civilians.

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Melbourne will be Australia's biggest city by 2037

Melbourne will be Australia's biggest city by 2037 | Geographical Processes | Scoop.it
MELBOURNE will overtake Sydney as Australia's largest city within three decades, with a lack of housing in NSW driving migrants south.

Via Lauren Majarres
Grace Macpherson's insight:

It is forcasted that by the year 2037 Melbourne will overtake Sydeny as Australia biggest city. Victori is booming and thought to be on the upward spirral, yet Sydney with it's lack of and unafffordable housing is on the downward spiral. If this were to happen, Sydney and Melbourne would ultimately suffer, with sydneys lack of people and Melbourne's influx of People. Poeple's need for more housing and money has caused this problem as now people are struggling to find suitable houses or space. This article has not specified but generalises it to the city of Sydney and Melbourne.

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Lauren Majarres's curator insight, July 22, 2013 12:08 AM

By 2037, Melbourne is expected to take over as being Australia's largest populated city due to the shift in economic fortunes. It is predicted that Melbourne's population will reach by 2037, 5.7 billion. The report says the five major problems with planning in NSW are high regulatory risk, high development levies, under-supply of development sites, lack of support for large projects, and landlord market power.

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NATURE: Coal-burning in China cuts more than 5 years off the life expectancy of 500 million people

NATURE: Coal-burning in China cuts more than 5 years off the life expectancy of 500 million people | Geographical Processes | Scoop.it
Historical study links higher levels of pollution to higher mortality.

 

In the same northern areas of China where government used to provide free coal for heating, particulate matter in the air was 55% higher — and respiratory ailments shortened life expectancy by five years. High levels of particulates from coal burning in China’s highly polluted north may have cut more than five years from life expectancy for the 500 million people who lived there in the 1990s, scientists report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study can help to forecast the health effects of pollution in present-day China — where air quality has only gotten worse — as well as in other countries.

 

Chinese air pollution made global headlines during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again this winter, when particulate levels in Beijing exceeded 700 micrograms per cubic metre — more than 50 times higher than those allowed by US air-quality standards.

 

But prior efforts to quantify the long-term risks of living in such conditions have been problematic, says Michael Greenstone, an environmental economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and a co-author of the latest study. That’s because earlier studies attempted to extrapolate health effects from US data, where even in the most polluted cities particulate levels are an order of magnitude lower than those found in China. Data for the health effects of high pollution levels are scarce, he says.

 

To fill the gap, Greenstone and his colleagues looked into the effects of a Chinese government policy that from 1950 to 1980 provided free coal for heating to people in the region north of the Huai River and the Qinling mountain range, a fairly traditional demarcation between northern and southern China.

 

The goal of the Huai River Policy was to provide a minimum of heating resources to those who most needed them. But in the process it accidentally provided an unintended experiment in which people north of the river were exposed to air particulate levels 55% higher than those to the south, with reported levels reaching 550 micrograms per cubic meter.

Adding to the impact was that during this period, Chinese citizens tended to stay in one city, breathing the same air, rather than moving away.

 

“There was not a lot of migration,” Greenstone says. “In fact, it was restricted by law.” Furthermore, the policy left a legacy of higher coal use north of the dividing line, where to this day homes are more likely to have coal-fired heating built decades ago.

 

Comparing Chinese air pollution and health data, Greenstone and colleagues found a marked jump not only in death rates, but in a single air-pollution variable — particulates — right at the Huai River line. Even more strikingly, the increased death rate north of the line was entirely due to cardiorespiratory illnesses.

 

Even though the study was based on data from two decades ago, the researchers say it can help to predict the health effects of the current levels of atmospheric pollution, which are even higher than in the 1990s. The finding, Greenstone says, is useful information to developing countries trying to find the balance between economic growth and environmental health. But it could also play a role in global climate-change debates.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Grace Macpherson's insight:

This article suggests that due to the extreme amounts of pollutants in the air, those that lived in the north region of China have a lower life expectancy compared to other regions, especially those living in there through the 1990's. The porr air quality in the north but also throughout the rest of china has major health effects on it's pooluation. The results published are targetd to the north reigion and particularly around the Huai River and Qinling mountain ranges. The reason for this is primarily due to what's known as the 'Haui river Policy', a governmnet funded policy, wich provided free heating to the people. But it caused large amounts of pollution in the air, degrading the air qaulity. This reigion is most effected because of the coal buring, but also because as suggested in the article during the 1900's their was a large migration to this area, increasing the pollution, also people tended to stay in the one city, breathing the same air, rather than moving.

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Water as a Tradeable Commodity: Restoring Balance to the Murray-Darling Basin

Water as a Tradeable Commodity: Restoring Balance to the Murray-Darling Basin | Geographical Processes | Scoop.it

Economic-based water management strategies are assuming an increasingly important role in managing Australia’s water scarcity problems.


Via Peter Phillips
Grace Macpherson's insight:

Australia is the world's driest inhabited continet, the Murray-Darling Bassin provide Australia with 50% of it's toal water supply and is also vital in providing water for agriculture within Australia. However the bassin is relatively dry itself and only recives 6% of the countries run-off water. There is a servere unbalance of demand and supply. The Australian Governement has enforced numerous schemes to mainatain and restore the bassin, but has faced much critisim and many times failed. Saving the bassin is nessiary not only for those that rely on the water but also for all the animals that live in or drink for the river. Droughts are major problems facind the areas around the bassin and although this is not caused but hummans, the intercation and taking more that what it needed has caused parts of the bassin to run dry. 

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Peter Phillips's curator insight, July 7, 2013 8:23 AM
This article provides an introduction to water trading and licensing schemes in the Murray Darling Basin. It is brief, but to the point.
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Coastalwatch :: Reference :: Features :: Impact of coastal erosion in Australia

Coastalwatch :: Reference :: Features :: Impact of coastal erosion in Australia | Geographical Processes | Scoop.it

Via mrhill
Grace Macpherson's insight:

Australia's coastlines are subject to much destruction, from huan interaction, natural processes and also largely climate change. Many of the tourist becaches have seen  dramatic changes over the years. Some coastal areas have training walls or seawalls to help manage the great destruction, yet the Government  has also let buidings and houses line the forshore, and as the tide rises many people will be left packing. Much has been done but as climate change increases Austrlia's coastlines will suffer extreme errosion and weathering. the damge differs from area to area because of the amount of human activity, we need to properly manage our print on these becahes for future generations will have becahes to swim on. Governments along with welfare and managemnt groups are trying inivitative ways to prevent further destruction and help rebuild our coasts.

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Zachary Hardes's curator insight, July 15, 7:20 PM

about the effect of australian coastlines

Chelsea Tresidder's curator insight, July 15, 7:38 PM

Coastal errosion is a major problem in australia and needs to be adapted to. With most of our population living alone the coast line, errosion will lead in people loosing houses, societys and rural areas will become more populated.

Rescooped by Grace Macpherson from Vertical Farm - Food Factory
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Intercontinental Adelaide Goes Zero-Waste-to-Landfill · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader

The Intercontinental Adelaide hotel in Australia has achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status a year ahead of schedule.

Via Alan Yoshioka
Grace Macpherson's insight:

The intercontinential hotel Adelaide, has managed ahead of schedule to achieve their target of having 100% recycling of waste and zero landfill by the end of 2012. This major hotel re looked at their carbon print and made drastic measures to change it. It is now a leading 'green' hotle, wich hopefully will encourage more Hotels around Australia and the world to follow down this 'green' path.This is a perfect example to how a group of people, along with the SITA, are responding to waste problems. Waste management is major issue, and the Intercontinential is doing it's part to better manage their waste and set a good example.

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