Global Pollution

OUR MANAGEMENT of Earth's natural systems is impacting air and water quality around the world. Warmer temperatures associated with climate change increase the formation of tropospheric ozone, a main constituent of smog and contributor to cardiorespiratory disease. Warmer temperatures and higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are associated with longer pollen seasons and increased pollen production, intensifying allergic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Biomass burning for agriculture in places like equatorial Asia is driving sharp increases in particulate air pollution and associated morbidity and mortality. In some regions, air pollution has become so pervasive that it obscures the sun, altering regional weather patterns, reducing agricultural yields, and accelerating glacial melting. Man-made pollutants in water bodies pose a threat to drinking supplies. Water-borne pollutants in oceans and terrestrial water systems are also consumed by small organisms and thus enter the food chain.

Learning Objectives
L1: Assess the sociocultural, economic and political frameworks that perpetuate polluting activities around the world.
L2: Define and describe different types and sources of pollution.
L3: Understand the interconnectedness of the 'local' and 'global' in the context of the health impacts of pollution.
L4: Explain the natural systems that facilitate the flow of pollutants, highlighting inequalities in impact.
Teaching Resources

Planetary Health & Environmental Epidemiology
In this graduate level course, students will study the human health impacts of accelerating environmental change through interdisciplinary approaches including environmental science, political science, and public health.


Climate Change and Health: An Interprofessional Response
This set of nine short slide decks that can be utilized to introduce the connection between climate change and health to health professionals. They are intended to be used by instructors and programs when teaching about the connection between climate and health in existing courses.
→ Slide deck

Ecosystem Approaches to Health Teaching Manual
A teaching manual with sample modules and associated activities for teaching about health and environmental change produced by COPEH-Canada.
→ Español 
→ Français 
→ English 
→ Read more

What It's Like to Live in the World's Most Polluted City
(L1, L2, L3) Delhi, the Indian territory, is the most polluted area in the world. National Geographic photographs by Matthieu Raley show New Delhi residents' interactions with pollution accompanied by an article about the lack of proper infrastructure to solve air pollution, water pollution, waste management, and environmental degradation issues.
→ See the photos

Climate Change, Community Needs, and Public Health
This undergraduate level course explores public health capacity building from the perspectives of a regulatory lawyer/economist and a medical educator/practitioner with a focus on climate change and pollution. The public health-law-medicine nexus is important for all three fields, but advances in one field often are not matched by changes in the other two fields. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spring 2016.

Pollution, Environment, and Health
This University of California at San Diego course studies the scope and consequences of the pollution problem, the basic properties and fate of chemicals in the environment, and explores the biological mechanisms, particularly those operating at the cellular level, that determine accumulation and toxicity of chemicals.

Environmental Health Risk Inventory
(L1, L2) In this activity, students will learn about different types of environmental health risks and how they can assess the health risks in their own neighborhoods.
→ Teaching tool


Planetary Health Alliance

Over 420 organizations from 70+ countries committed to understanding and addressing the impacts of global environmental change on human health and well-being.
Website via Visura

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