The Threat to Children’s Health from Air Pollution

Clear the air for children – The impact of air pollution on children (100 page pdf, Editor-In-Chief, David Anthony, UNICEF, Oct. 2016)

Also discussed here: A Staggering Number of the World’s Children Are Breathing Toxic Air   (Mother Jones, Oct. 31, 2016)

Today we review a report that documents the impact of indoor and outdoor pollution on the children of the world who are particularly vulnerable because, for their size,  they breathe more air than adults into lungs that are only beginning to develop. 300 million children live in areas with toxic air pollution and 2 billion live in areas where the air pollution exceeds minimum quality standards as set by the World Health Organization. Steps are recommended  (that apply to highly developed countries and cities as well as developing countries) to reduce this toll including less pollution indoors by using ventilation, better insulation to reduce fuel burning and cleaner stoves. Outdoors, situate schools and day cares away from traffic related pollution, replace private vehicle transportation with public transit, walking and cycling and monitor air pollution more carefully especially as it impacts child health.

unicef-air-pollution

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post,. click HERE

What is Important for Coastal Areas Facing Sea-Level Rise – A Literature Review

Resilience of Infrastructure Systems to Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Areas: Impacts, Adaptation Measures, and Implementation Challenges (28 page pdf, Beatriz Azevedo de Almeida and Ali Mostafavi, Sustainability, Nov. 1, 2016)

Today we summarize a literature review of research papers examining the impacts of sea level rise on coastal areas of the world which include flooding, coastal erosion, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion. A rise of only ½ a meter in the next 50 years puts at risk 150 million people and $35 trillion of assets in 20 of the world’s most vulnerable port cities. Any success in reducing carbon emissions and the associated increase via climate change in temperature, precipitation and sea level rise would allow for 30% less impact on infrastructure systems such as power stations, oil and gas refineries and wastewater treatment plants.

sea-level-rise-impacts

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How do Air Pollution and Noise from Road Traffic affect High Blood Pressure in Western Europe?

Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and traffic noise and incident hypertension in seven cohorts of the European study of cohorts for air pollution effects (ESCAPE) (Abstract, Kateryna B Fuks, Gudrun Weinmayr, Xavier Basagaña, Olena Gruzieva, Regina Hampel, Bente Oftedal, Mette Sørensen, Kathrin Wolf, Geir Aamodt, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Inmaculada Aguilera, Thomas Becker, Rob Beelen, Bert Brunekreef, Barbara Caracciolo, Josef Cyrys, Roberto Elosua, Kirsten Thorup Eriksen, Maria Foraster, Laura Fratiglioni, Agneta Hilding, Danny Houthuijs, Michal Korek, Nino Künzli, Jaume Marrugat, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Claes-Göran Östenson, Johanna Penell, Göran Pershagen, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Wim Swart Jr, Annette Peters, Barbara Hoffmann, European Heart Journal, Oct. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here:  World’s largest study shows effects of long-term exposure to air pollution and traffic noise on blood pressure (ScienceDaily, Oct. 25, 2016)

Today we review research based on the effects of traffic –related air pollution and noise in five countries for 5-9 years. Results indicate that the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension increased by 20%  for those who live in more polluted areas (for every increase of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5) and by 6% for those living in areas with a higher level of noise. Air pollution was higher in Germany and Spain than in Scandinavian countries and the combination of air and noise pollution was higher in Spain and Sweden.

English: Main complications of persistent high...

English: Main complications of persistent high blood pressure. Sources are found in main article: Wikipedia:Hypertension#Complications. To discuss image, please see Template_talk:Häggström diagrams. To edit, please use the svg version, convert to png and update both versions online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Does Air Pollution Affect the Stock Market?

The Effect of Air Pollution on Investor Behavior: Evidence from the S&P 500 (Abstract, Anthony Heyes, Matthew Neidell, Soodeh Saberian, National Bureau of Economic Research, Oct. 26, 2016)
Also discussed here: Why investors may want to keep tabs on air pollution (CBS News, Oct. 26, 2016)

And here: Air pollution and stock returns: Evidence from a natural experiment (Abstract, Gabriele M. Lepori, Journal of Empirical Finance, Jan. 2016)

And here: Does the weather have impacts on returns and trading activities in order-driven stock markets? Evidence from China  (Jing Lu, Robin K. Chou, Journal of Empirical Finance, Jan. 2012)

And here:  Air pollution and stock returns in the US (Abstract, Tamir Levy, Joseph Yagil, Journal of Economic Psychology, Jun. 2011)

Today we review several reports that look at the links, if any, between investment returns and short term changes in local air quality, as examined in the stock exchanges of the USA, Italy and China. There is some evidence that higher levels of fine particulate matter may reduce one day returns by almost 12%. Also, when the trading floor is near or within an area of higher air pollution, trading activity is affected.

The main trading room of the Tokyo Stock Excha...

The main trading room of the Tokyo Stock Exchange,where trading is currently completed through computers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Can The US Transportation Become Carbon Free by 2050?

50 Steps Toward Carbon-Free Transportation – Rethinking U.S. Transportation Policy to Fight Global Warming (92 page pdf, Farontier Group, Oct. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: Report: Global Warming Solutions (Environment America Research & Policy Center, Oct. 24, 2016)
Today we review a report that recommends 50 steps aimed at state and federal program  and policies that could make the USA’s transportation system carbon free by 2050. The steps include making carbon reduction strategies a key priority by exploiting the growth of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and the sharing of cars and bicycles, adding more effective public transit, employing smart pricing policies and phasing out carbon intensive vehicles and fuels.

co2-emissions-by-country

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

What Factors are Important for Coastal Cities Facing Sea-Level Rise – A Literature Review

Resilience of Infrastructure Systems to Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Areas: Impacts, Adaptation Measures, and Implementation Challenges (28 page pdf, Beatriz Azevedo de Almeida and Ali Mostafavi, Sustainability, Nov. 1, 2016)

Today we summarize a literature review of research papers examining the impacts of sea level rise on coastal areas of the world which include flooding, coastal erosion, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion. A rise of only ½ a meter in the next 50 years puts at risk 150 million people and $35 trillion of assets in 20 of the world’s most vulnerable port cities. Any success in reducing carbon emissions and the associated increase via climate change in temperature, precipitation and sea level rise would allow for 30% less impact on infrastructure systems such as power stations, oil and gas refineries and wastewater treatment plants.

sea-level-rise-impacts

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How does Air Pollution and Noise from Road Traffic affect Blood Pressure?

Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and traffic noise and incident hypertension in seven cohorts of the European study of cohorts for air pollution effects (ESCAPE) (Abstract, Kateryna B Fuks, Gudrun Weinmayr, Xavier Basagaña, Olena Gruzieva, Regina Hampel, Bente Oftedal, Mette Sørensen, Kathrin Wolf, Geir Aamodt, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Inmaculada Aguilera, Thomas Becker, Rob Beelen, Bert Brunekreef, Barbara Caracciolo, Josef Cyrys, Roberto Elosua, Kirsten Thorup Eriksen, Maria Foraster, Laura Fratiglioni, Agneta Hilding, Danny Houthuijs, Michal Korek, Nino Künzli, Jaume Marrugat, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Claes-Göran Östenson, Johanna Penell, Göran Pershagen, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Wim Swart Jr, Annette Peters, Barbara Hoffmann, European Heart Journal, Oct. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: World’s largest study shows effects of long-term exposure to air pollution and traffic noise on blood pressure (ScienceDaily, Oct. 25, 2016)

Today we review research based on the effects of traffic –related air pollution and noise in five countries for 5-9 years. Results indicate that the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension increased by 20%  for those who live in more polluted areas (for every increase of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5) and by 6% for those living in areas with a higher level of noise. Air pollution was higher in Germany and Spain than in Scandinavian countries and the combination of air and noise pollution was higher in Spain and Sweden.

Car owners request measures against traffic no...

Car owners request measures against traffic noise for the road at their home, a typical Nimby (Not In My Backyard) situation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Are Cities Prepared for Climate Change Impacts?

Nederlands: Cartoon about climate change

Nederlands: Cartoon about climate change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Assessing climate change vulnerability in urban America: stakeholder-driven approaches (Abstract, Sabrina McCormick, Climatic Change, Aug. 31, 2016)

Also discussed here: Study assesses climate change vulnerability in urban America: Most city planners have yet to prepare for climate-related risks and the consequences. (ScienceDaily, Aug. 31, 2016)

And here: Politicization of climate change hinders adaptation in cities — report (Brittany Patterson, E&E reporter, ClimateWire, Nov. 18, 2015

Today we review an assessment of how well 6 cities in the USA (Portland; Boston; Los Angeles; Tucson, Ariz.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Tampa, Fla.)are addressing their vulnerability to climate change. The order of preparedness is the in the same order as given with Portland at the forefront and Tampa bringing up the rear. The biggest obstacle was the lack of acknowledgment of climate change as an issue- something seen as well in Canada, in such cities as its capital city, Ottawa. The overlooked vulnerabilities includes hardening infrastructure against the increased frequency and intensity of such hazards as flooding and electrical storms and safeguarding some parts of the population, particularly older people, to such health hazards as smog events and heat waves.

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How Does Noise in the City Affect Its Residents?

How City Noise Affects Residents’ Health (The Atlantic , Mar. 1, 2016)

Also discussed here: Noise and the City Blog

And here: Greater Boston Neighborhood Noise Survey (Noise and the City)

And here: Pinpointing the Health Impacts of Urban Noise

Today we review progress on a project by a PhD candidate at Harvard School of Public Health to measure and monitor the noise in neighbourhoods of a large American city (Boston) as well as conduct a survey of residents to assess their reaction to noise. The noises include traditional road noise from traffic, as well as the hidden ones such as vibrations and low frequency noises from underground subways or idling trucks. While we await her thesis, those interested in the project can follow progress at her blog at http://noiseandthecity.org/monitoring-and-surveying-at-a-glance/ .

Boston_ Monitoring and Surveying at a Glance - Noiseandthecity.org_Page_1 boston noice map-big

 

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Does Air Pollution Cause Kidney Disease?

County-Level Air Quality and the Prevalence of Diagnosed Chronic Kidney Disease in the U.S. Medicare Population (Abstract, page 824, Jennifer L. Bragg-Gresham, Hal Morgenstern, William M. McClellan, Sharon Saydah, Desmond Williams, Neil R. Powe, Delphine S. Tuot, Yi Li,1 Rajiv Saran, American Society of Nephrology, Nov. 11-16, 2014)

Also discussed here: Air pollution associated with higher rates of chronic kidney disease (Science Daily, Nov. 16, 2014)

Today we review research into the link between air pollution and chronic kidney disease or CKD. Results indicate higher prevalence of the disease with particulate (PM2.5) readings as low as 8.4 μg/m3, much lower than the expected threshold of 40 μg/m3 for elderly patients. Higher incidence of CKD may be expected in countries or regions with higher air pollution levels than where this research was conducted in counties across the USA.

PULP MILL AIR POLLUTION - NARA - 544999

PULP MILL AIR POLLUTION – NARA – 544999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Recommendations to Counter Climate Change by 2050

Pathways To Deep Decarbonization – interim 2014 report to the Secretary General of the United Nations (288 page pdf, Jeffrey Sachs, Laurence Tubiana, Emmanuel Guerin, Henri Waisman, Carl Mas, Michel Colombier, Guido Schmidt-Traub, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Jul. 8, 2014)

Also discussed here: Executive Summary – Pathways To Deep Decarbonization (16 page pdf, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Jul.8, 2014)

And here: UN issued with roadmap on how to avoid climate catastrophe – Report is the first of its kind to prescribe concrete actions that the biggest 15 economies must take to keep warming below 2C (Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Jul. 8, 2014)

And here: Deep Decarbonization Pathways (Sustainable Development Solutions Network)

Today we review an interim report to the UN’s Secretary General that puts to one side the last 20 years of largely failed negotiations focused on legal niceties by 20 conferences, sponsored by the UN Convention on Climate Change, aimed at reducing the impact of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by making communities more resilient. The report estimates that without significant changes to the way that energy is generated from carbon fuels that the global mean temperature will increase by 4.5 deg C by the end of the century. It recommends three approaches be taken quickly and seriously by all countries,  but especially those among the largest emitters (America, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and South Korea) and these are: Energy efficiency and conservation, Low-carbon electricity and Fuel Switching. A final report is expected within the next year leading up to a crucial climate conference in Paris in 2015.

English: GHG emission per capita in metric ton...

English: GHG emission per capita in metric tons per person for each country in 2005. Data is from the CAIT 8.0 dataset. CO2 equivalent emissions from land use change and emissions of CO2,CH4,N2O,PFC,HFC, and SF6 are included. Bunker fuel (aka ships) is not. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Does Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution Cause Cancer ?

Residential Traffic Exposure and Childhood Leukemia: A Systematic Review and Meta(Abstract, Vickie L. Boothe, Tegan K. Boehmer, Arthur M. Wendel, Fuyuen Y. Yip, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Mar. 31, 2014)

Also discussed here: CDC: Vehicle Exhaust Linked to Higher Child Leukemia Near Roads(Downwinders at risk, Mar. 24, 2014)
And here: CDC: Higher cancer risk for kids living near busy roads(Larry Copeland, USA TODAY, Mar. 20, 2014)
Today we review research into what links may exist between exposure to vehicle emissions near busy roads and cancer, given earlier research on residential traffic proximity to asthma, cardiovascular disease and premature mortality. Results indicate a significant link with leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer and that those children with leukemia were 50% more likely to live near busy roads. This does not establish a clear link between exhaust and childhood leukemia but an association that does suggest that children not be exposed to roadside pollution.

car exhaust

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Top Five New Posts on Pollution Free Cities in 2013

  1. The Significant Role of Public Participation in Urban Sustainability Issues

Who Governs in Cities: Business Interests or Public Advocacy for Sustainability?(21 page pdf, Jeffrey M. Berry and Kent E. Portney, Sustainability, May7, 2013)

Today we review an analysis of the way that 50 cities in the USA performs in terms of economic growth and sustainability and the role of public advocacy and business groups in their governance. It concludes that economic growth is a necessary condition to allow for the inclusion of the public input in developing sustainable urban policies in cities such as Portland or Seattle. As a side note, the article points out the striking difference in the roles of public and business advocacy at the national vs. the local level- and the difference this makes in how cities are governed.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

2. Monitoring Roadside Air Pollution and Urban Health Impacts

Evolution of Air Pollution Monitoring in Ottawa (60 slide ppt, Natty Urquizo and Martha Robinson, Upwind Downwind Conference 2012, Hamilton, ON, Feb. 27, 2012)

Also discussed here: Ottawa Air Quality Information System(10 page pdf, Natividad Urquizo, Daniel Spitzer, William Pugsley and Martha Robinson, 44th Annual Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Ottawa, ON, May 29-June 4, 2010)

And here: Mapping Small Scale Air Pollution Distribution using Satellite Observations an a Large Canadian City(6 page pdf, Natividad Urquizo; D. Spitzer; W. Pugsley and M. Robinson, 11th Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry of the annual conference of the American Meteorological Society at Phoenix AZ, Jan. 12, 2009)

And here: Is Air Quality Affecting Your Health?(John Lorinc, UofT Magazine, Jan. 11, 2013)

Today we review a paper presented at the biannual Upwind-Downwind Conference in Hamilton that describes the development of a fairly unique urban air quality program. The program was given a boost in 2007 by a project that combined satellite air quality data  from space with observations from a dozen ground stations to produce maps at 10 km resolution at 10 minute intervals for a year over the national capital area (which includes the twin cities of Ottawa and Gatineau). Further applications of these data with real-time traffic flow data allowed for mapping down to the street level in downtown Ottawa and assessments of health impacts near these roads which showed that over 50% of schools and old age homes are located within 50 m of heavy traffic, placing the most vulnerable residents at risk from vehicle emissions. A new program has just been announced by the University of Toronto to examine similar applications of roadside emissions and health impacts in Canada’s largest city.

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3. How Can the World deal with Climate Change and Overpopulation?

Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?(10 page pdf, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Jan. 8, 2013)

Today we review a paper written by ecologist Paul Ehrlich on his election to the Royal Society in 2012. He assesses the prospects for survival of human civilization as we know it, faced with overpopulation, increasing consumption of natural resources and a growing set of interacting and serious challenges that slowly but persistently threaten to overwhelm society’s ability to cope. One apt observation about this state of affairs is the difficulty in dealing with slow, almost imperceptible, changes, given that the magnitude of the responses needed become greater with time- something that many short term political thinkers have difficulty with.

This leads to the suggestion for “foresight intelligence”- an approach that looks at the various scenarios possible or likely and where these lead so that the re4sults of various policies can be evaluated in advance. It strikes this reviewer that thinking about change is needed from the bottom-up rather than leaving it all to action and policy at the global level because it is in urban centres where most people live and where the impacts of inaction are so often first felt and where a change in energy use and consumption can probably best be achieved.

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4. Vehicle Emissions and Water Quality

Understanding Atmospheric Deposition in Tampa Bay(3 page pdf, Bay Region Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE))

Also discussed here: From the Tailpipe to Tampa Bay: Air Pollution Research Reveals Impact of Cars(Bradenton Times, Dec. 17, 2012)

Vehicle emissions not only cause harmful health impacts for people near them but they also affect the quality of the water near urban areas by adding nitrogen dioxides to the water off the coast which promotes algae growth, starving the fish of oxygen. Today we review a report from Tampa on the amount of nitrogen oxides reaching the water from the atmosphere, mainly from vehicle emissions that pollute Tampa Bay. Many of the same strategies for improving urban air quality on land apply here as well for water quality: more low emission vehicles, more monitoring of dry deposition and reestablish atmospheric monitoring stations. As EPA notes: “driving a car is a typical citizen’s most polluting daily activity.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

5. How Does Urban Population Growth Affect Health in China and Elsewhere?

Urbanisation and health in China (10 page pdf, Peng Gong, Song Liang, Elizabeth J Carlton, Qingwu Jiang, Jianyong Wu, Lei Wang, Justin V Remais, The Lancet, Mar. 3, 2012)

Today we review the state of the environment and health in the most quickly growing (and largest) cities in the world that have come about because of a massive shift from rural  to urban areas where migrants make up 40% of  the population. A major health threat comes from the parallel increase in industry and increase in the use of vehicles which affect outdoor air quality and is the cause of 400,000 premature deaths each year which becomes even more critical in a society that is aging faster (and is older) than the global average (by 2050, median age expected to be 50 vs 38 years). The paper under review calls for more stringent regulation of industrial and vehicle emissions.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report

for this blog.

SNOW

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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What’s Wrong with Estimating Traffic Congestion Using GPS Statistics?

The problems with measuring traffic congestion (Felix Salmon, Reuters, Oct. 17, 2012

Also discussed here: The problems of measuring traffic congestion (Road Pricing, May 15, 2013)

And here: TomTom Congestion Index(Tom Tom, Mar. 22, 2013)

And here: TomTom North American Congestion Index(68 page pdf, Tom Tom, Mar. 22, 2013)

Today we review an article that criticizes the effort to estimate congestion in 120 cities world-wide  by a major GPS producer, TomTom. The author, Felix Salmon, points out several issues that reduce confidence in the city by city congestion indices: the lack of an independent measure of congestion that would calibrate the GPS-based estimates, the assumption that the speeds of vehicles using the GPS represent the speeds of the average or all vehicles on the road at the time and the weight given to various road segments being measured. The bottom line is that the efforts to reduce congestion by road pricing require a sound way of measuring congestion in order to recognize success or failure of the pricing method used in a given city. While TomTom should be congratulated for its efforts so far, it seems that a second or third objective and consistent way of measuring congestion is needed.

tom tom congestion

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Traffic-Related Pollution and Early Childhood Cancers

cancer 2011

cancer 2011 (Photo credit: mike r baker)

UCLA researchers find potential link between auto pollution, some childhood cancers(UCLA Press Release,Apr. 9, 2013)

Also Quoted Here: Exposure to Air Pollution During Pregnancy Linked to Increased Incidence of Specific Pediatric Cancers(Science Daily, Apr. 9, 2013)

And here: Road Traffic Pollution as Serious as Passive Smoke in the Development of Childhood Asthma(Science Daily, Mar. 21, 2013)

And here: Many US Public Schools In ‘Air Pollution Danger Zone’(Science Daily, Aug. 20, 2008)

Today we review a paper presented at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research (but not published as yet) on the links between exposure of a fetus and first year of life to traffic-related air pollution in California. Results indicate a statistical link with 14 to 19 % increased risk for pediatric cancers affecting white blood cells (leukemia), tumours and the eyes. More research is called for to establish a cause and effect link, such as between traffic-related pollution and asthma for children.

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The Impact of Air Pollution on Children’s Respiratory Diseases World-wide

Ambient particulate air pollution and acute lower respiratory infections: a systematic review and implications for estimating the global burden of disease(15 page pdf, Sumi Mehta, Hwashin Shin, Rick Burnett, Tiffany North & Aaron J. Cohen, Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, May 21, 2011)

Today we summarize a literature review that examined the link between indoor and outdoor air pollution and respiratory diseases world-wide, with a focus on young children 20% of whom die of this. The sources of the air pollution range from PM 2.5 from combustion to the burning of solid fuels indoors.

resp impact from pm25

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What You Liked Best in 2011

Overview of main health effects on humans from...

Image via Wikipedia

Overview of main health effects on humans from...
Image via Wikipedia

Here is the list of the most visited posts over the last year:

1.The Cleanest (and Dirtiest) Cities in the World

2.Health Effects of Noise

3.Traffic-Related Air Pollution Literature Review

4.Masdar City – zero carbon, zero waste

5.Global Health Impact of Air, Land and Water Pollution

6.Impact of Traffic Air Pollution on Health in Toronto

7.Low and Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB)

8.Health Effects of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles

9.Roundabouts, Cleaner Air and Safer Intersections

10.Health and Urban Poverty

The most popular one posted in 2011 was #7 on zero energy buildings. The perennially most popular post since the blog began in 2009 is #4 on zero -waste Masdar City.

As we begin 2012, the posted reviews will be reduced to three a week, usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in order to maintain a high content quality.

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Optimizing Utilization of Municipal Waste

Design of an Optimal Waste Utilization System: A Case Study in St. Petersburg, Russia (24 page pdf, Mikhail Rodionov and Toshihiko Nakata, Sustainability, Sep. 8, 2011)

A pollution-free city is one where the air and water are clean and solid pollution is eliminated. Today’s review article looks at a system in St Petersburg, Russia where waste production was outstripping landfill capacity and where a system is proposed to both reduce the waste volume and convert the emitted methane gas to energy.

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