Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

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Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

El Locos por la Tierra retoma las sesiones en formato virtual

El programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB ha reanudado sus sesiones formativas en formato virtual.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ (www.bcnuej.org) del ICTA-UAB (https://ictaweb.uab.cat/) y del IMIM (www.imim.es) está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
News
Local awareness to mitigate Global Warming

Date: 2020-04-22

 

The Sociology, Technology and the Environment (IASTE) group from the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB) has made a study focused on the Cerro Patacón landfill in Panama City in order to analyze the impact of pollutant gases, emitted by solid waste thrown away on the local and global scale. This expose how desconsiderate human production, although these gases have aparently a small impact on the global climate change compared to other activities; and are  not generally attributed to one direct social cause, it becomes a health problem if the exposure to waste is continuous. And if, moreover in this case, it affects only a small sector of the population.

Playa Chiquita landfill, Chorrera, Panamá. Human settlements next to biosanitary waste rummaged by black vultures during a wet day in a landfill that receives mixed waste. Photo: Alessandra Stabile.

In developing countries, people attribute poor landfill management to authorities not recognizing they also share part of the responsibility. They consume material resources and generate solid waste, which decomposition emits landfill gas, which is made up of 98% of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. Globally, landfill gas represents only 3% of all sources producing environmental pressure for Global Warming or Climate Change; well below other sources such as energy production, agriculture or industrial processes. But the remaining 2% of landfill gas is composed of 160 trace gases, many of which are considered hazardous air pollutants that are emitted at low concentrations and are imperceptible to smell, but prolonged inhalation can cause chronic health damage.

People tend to alienate environmental pressures and become better involved with the social impacts that harm their personal health. However, environmental pressures are those that evolve into social impacts and must be identified and mitigated before this occurs. This study identifies the social impacts that 2% of landfill gases exert on the local population to recognize the environmental pressures that 98% exert on the global atmosphere. In this sense, the Cerro Patacón landfill, receiving 2,500 tons/day of mixed solid waste generated by 1.5 million people from Panama City, was used as a case study.

First, the environmental pressure that Cerro Patacón exerts globally was estimated at 1300 kton of CO2 equivalent/year; more than half of all the methane generated countrywide and 3-fold that of all other landfills in the country together, which serve 2.5 million people. Then, the social impact that Cerro Patacón exerts locally was estimated at 200 tons/year of hazardous air pollutants, which dispersion over 16 communities within a radius of 10 km represent a risk of continuous and prolonged exposure for 72,600 people daily inhaling these gases with concentrations above those allowed by international regulations.

These 72,600 people, representing only 5% of the Panama City population and generating only 6% of total solid waste disposed of in Cerro Patacón, receive 100% of the social impacts derived from the environmental pressure exerted by the remaining 95% of Panama City population that are not reached by hazardous air pollutants.

Recognizing how part of the population affects another allows stablishing a relationship between local social impacts and global environmental pressures as a measure of long-term awareness. Appropriate community participation and information dissemination tools could support local people to acknowledge how impacts on their personal health that are derived from the indiscriminate generation of solid waste are also affecting the global environment and help fight Climate Change.

Jorge Torrente
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB)
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
jorgemiguel.torrente@uab.cat

References
Torrente-Velásquez, J.M., Giampietro, M., Ripa, M., Chifari, R. Landfill reactions to society actions: The case of local and global air pollutants of Cerro Patacón in Panama. Science of The Total Environment. 2020; vol. 706.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135988

 

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