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Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions Proposal


Introduction

The environment has an influence on human beings’ health as well as on the overall well-being (Larson 2016). The interactions between health and the state of the environment have been studied extensively; it has been proven that environmental risks such as poor air quality significantly deteriorate human health, either through the direct exposure to harmful ingredients or through disrupting processes that are vital for sustaining ecosystems (Remoundou & Koundouri 2009).

Moreover, Pruss-Ustun et al. (2016) from the World Health Organization have made an estimation that around thirteen million deaths annually could be attributed to the adverse environmental causes, which are in general preventable. Researchers also estimated that twenty-four percent of the global disease burden (years of healthy life lost) and twenty-three percent of all premature deaths were attributed to environmental factors, with the disease burden being fifteen times higher in developing than developed countries.

Analysis

The air has reached a very high pollution level, with adverse effects being immediately being felt by the population at risk, with almost everybody feeling the effects of prolonged exposure to polluted air. As to the statistics of air quality in Abu Dhabi, the Air Plumelabs website shows that the air quality in the area is considered below average, with Plume Air Quality Index being 130 (151 annual average).

186 days in 2017 have been at this level. The primary pollutants that affect the quality of air in Abu Dhabi include ozone and nitrogen dioxide, found at indicators 50 (with the norm 42) and 24 (with the norm 18) respectively (Abu Dhabi air quality 2017). Therefore, the issue of air quality is very high on the agenda for the region due to the need for improving the health and well-being of citizens affected by the problem.

The significance of researching the topic of air quality in Abu Dhabi is associated with the need for gathering data and developing an action plan targeted at resolving the problem of air pollution and elevating the burden caused by its adverse effects. The community served in this case are citizens who live in the selected areas of Abu Dhabi; the effects of poor air quality will be directly felt by them, especially in cases of hospitalizations for respiratory and heart-related problems as well as overall inconveniences of living near an airport.

Objectives

The main objective of the research is to develop an action plan to serve the citizens in the selected areas of Abu Dhabi through improving the quality of air in residential areas close to the Abu Dhabi International Airport and the airport’s territory. To achieve this major objective, it is important first to do the following:

  1. Determine the severity of the adverse effects of poor air quality on the health and wellbeing of Abu Dhabian citizens;
  2. Analyze the effect of CORSIA on the quality of air in selected areas;
  3. Investigate best practices (laws and regulations) that have been implemented in other countries;
  4. Involve stakeholders and policymakers into the development of the action plan.

Literature Review

Before developing the methodology for the research, it is important first to review relevant studies available in the literature that pertains to the topic of air pollution. First, the study by Semazzi (2003) focused on investigating perspectives from climate change modeling research regarding air quality. The researchers explored air quality from the perspective of climate change and assessed the cause and effect relationships between climate change and the atmospheric composition of air on the basis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment of changes that occurred in the climate over the decade.

While the study can be considered dated, it provided an insight into the concerns about global warming and climate change regarding their effects on the quality of air. The researcher concluded that the future development of climate change was possible to predict only on the basis of actions and efforts targeted at the improvement of the environment.

The research by Rizwan, Nongkynrih, and Gupta (2013) investigated the magnitude and the effects on the health of air pollution in Delhi. Scientists concluded that all-natural-cause morbidity and mortality were more likely to increase with increased air pollution. Despite the fact that Delhi has implemented steps to reduce the levels of pollution and elevate the burden of negative effects on the population’s health, there is still a lot to be done about the problem.

Similarly, Alharbi, Alduwais, and Alhudhodi (2017) analyzed the spatial distribution of O3 and its precursors during summer in urban areas or Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). The research showed that the concentration of O3 was dominant in industrial and central areas, which was linked to the large volumes of traffic and emissions from industrial production. The O3 concentrations averaged at 34.59 ± 24.17 ppb and reached as high as 277.47 ppb, which violated the standards establishes by WHO and EPA (Alharbi, Alduwais & Alhudhodi 2017).

Analyzing air quality levels in urban areas is impossible without taking into consideration the impact of public and private transport. Qiu et al. (2017) investigated commuters’ exposure to a particular matter for different modes of transportation: private cars, the subway, bus, and walking. It was found that transportation modes influenced the concentration of particulate matter. The lowest exposure concentrations were found in private cars with air conditioning. On the other hand, commuters waiting for a subway train were exposed to the highest concentration of particulate matter.

As to the quality of air in areas surrounding airports, Schlenker and Walker (2011) investigate air pollution in airports and the effects on contemporaneous health. Researchers based their study on the fact that airport network delays that lead to congestion increased daily air pollution. The adverse impact of air pollution on the health of citizens included increased hospitalization for asthma, heart, and respiratory-related issues that were an order of magnitude larger compared to the average estimates.

One standard deviation increase in the levels of air pollution in areas around airports led to an additional cost of one million dollars for admissions related to heart and respiratory problems for citizens living in those areas. Importantly, the adverse health effects were linked to CO concentrations and not NO2 or O3 (Schlenker & Walker 2015).

Iavicoli et al. (2014) also studied airport-related air pollution and its health effects. Researchers stated that airports were incredibly complex sources of airborne pollutants that not only harmed the environment but also adversely affected citizens’ health. By critically evaluating studies that investigate the correlation between airport-related air pollution and negative health outcomes, researchers identify needs for future studies. However, little evidence was gathered regarding airport-related air pollution and adverse health effects.

Hudda et al. (2014) studied the increase in emissions concentrations from an International Airport. Researchers suggested that the emissions from the International airport were primary sources of the emissions of particle number concentrations in those areas that had the same general magnitude as the entire network of urban freeways. Also, the results indicated that the low quality of air in major airports has often been underestimated.

To conclude the literature review, it is important to mention the study conducted by Wolfe et al. (2014) that researched the near-airport distribution of the environmental costs of aviation. This study is of particular relevance to the current research since it specifically investigated near-airport air quality costs and the quality of life of citizens residing near them. It was found that damages from aviation-related climate changes “dominate those from the degradation of local air quality and noise pollution further away from the airport” (Wolfe et al. 2014).

Nevertheless, damages of air quality can be higher compared to those from the climate when taking into account the impact of harmful emissions on the quality of air. Researchers also found that the population residing at airport boundaries is exposed to damages between $100 and $400 per person annually from aircraft noise and between $5 and $16 per person annually from climate damages.

Plan of Work

In order to investigate the effect of poor air quality in Abu Dhabi International Airport and residential areas around it on the life and health of citizens, data collection is the key to the research. Daily, monthly, and annual data on air quality will be collected to determine whether changes occur in a positive or negative direction. Moreover, the efforts for air quality improvement associated with CORSIA should be analyzed.

The research can involve scientists specializing in air pollution measuring the quality of air in selected areas; then, improvement activities and processes implemented by CORSIA should be studied for determining whether they had any impact on the quality of air in selected areas. Regarding the effect of air pollution, hospitalization statistics for respiratory and heart-related issues in the selected areas should be collected (Mansourian et al. 2010).

As to the public perception of the relationship between air quality and their health, a survey will be designed (Egondi et al. 2013). It will include questions associated with their opinions on whether airports have an effect on increased air pollution and whether living in residential areas near airports is compromised by poor air quality and noise. Therefore, the study will focus on the scientific and public opinion perspective to take into consideration both sides of the problem when developing the air quality improvement action plan.

The involvement of local officials that influence decision-making and the creation of environment-related policies will be needed at the stage of action plan development. After the gathered data on the severity of air pollution and on the opinions of the public on their quality of life near airports is gathered, the study will focus on creating recommendations that could be useful for the long-term improvement of air quality in Abu Dhabi International Airport and selected residential areas near the airport.

While the study will not elevate the burden of poor air quality immediately, it will provide a basis for further research on the effectiveness of the recommended quality improvement intervention.

Reference List

2017. Web.

Alharbi, B, Alduwais, A & Alhudhodi, A 2017, ‘An analysis of the spatial distribution of O3 and its precursors during summer in the urban atmosphere of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’, Atmospheric Pollution Research, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 861-872.

Egondi, T, Kyobutungi, C, Ng, N, Muindi, K, Oti, S, van de Vijver, S, Ettarh, E & Rocklov, J 2013, ‘Community perceptions of air pollution and related health risks in Nairobi slums’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 10, no. 10, 4851-4868.

Hudda, N, Gould, T, Hartin, K, Larson, T & Fruin, S 2014, ‘Emissions from an International Airport increase particle number concentrations 4-fold at 10 km downwind,’ Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 48, no. 12, pp. 6628-6635.

Iavicoli, I, Fontana, L, Ancona, C & Forastiere, F 2014, ‘Airport related air pollution and health effects’, Epidemiology Preview, vol. 38, no. 3-4, pp. 237-243.

Larson, J 2016, Web.

Mansourian, M, Javanmard, S, Poursafa, P & Kelishadi, R 2010, ‘Air pollution and hospitalization for respiratory diseases among children in Isfahan, Iran’, Ghana Medical Journal, vol 44, no. 4, pp. 138-143.

Pruss-Ustun, A, Wolf, J, Corvalan, C & Neira, M 2016, . Web.

Qiu, Z, Song, J, Xu, X, Luo, Y, Zhao, R, Zhou, W, Xiang, B & Hao, Y 2017, ‘Commuter exposure to particulate matter for different transportation modes in Xi’an, China’, Atmospheric Pollution Research, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 940-948.

Remoundou, K & Koundouri, P 2009, ‘Environmental effects on public health: an economic perspective’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 2160-2178.

Rizwan, S, Nongkynrih, B & Gupta, S 2013, ‘Air pollution in Delhi: its magnitude and effects on health’, Indian Journal of Community Medicine, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 4-8.

Schlenker, W & Walker, R 2015, Airports, air pollution, and contemporaneous health. Web.

Semazzi, F 2003, ‘Air quality research: perspective from climate change modeling research’, Environmental International, vol. 29, no. 2-3, pp. 253-261.

Wolfe, P, Yim, Lee, G, Ashok, A, Barrett, S & Waitz, I 2014, ‘Near-airport distribution of the environmental costs of aviation’, Transport Policy, vol. 34, pp. 102-108.

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IvyPanda. (2020, October 2). Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/air-quality-in-abu-dhabi-problems-and-solutions/

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"Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions." IvyPanda, 2 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/air-quality-in-abu-dhabi-problems-and-solutions/.

1. IvyPanda. "Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions." October 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/air-quality-in-abu-dhabi-problems-and-solutions/.


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IvyPanda. "Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions." October 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/air-quality-in-abu-dhabi-problems-and-solutions/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions." October 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/air-quality-in-abu-dhabi-problems-and-solutions/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Problems and Solutions'. 2 October.

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