PESTLE: Environmental

Environmental Summary
I.    Convergent Data
a.    At current levels, poor air quality, including ozone and particulate pollution, are negatively affecting human and environmental health.
b.    Neighboring industries such as coal, steel and business are direct contributors to the problem of decreased air quality, and therefore also to the problem of decreased environmental and human health.
II.    Key Points
a.    Human Health
i.    Decreased air quality is a prevalent problem in Jefferson County and those surrounding it, and Birmingham’s industrial past and geographic location contribute to this problem.
ii.    Decreased air quality in the form of particulate pollution and ozone buildup can cause and amplify respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as asthma and bronchitis in susceptible groups.
b.    Environmental Health
i.    Acid rain due to decreased air quality is a direct contributor to the degradation of surface water, soil, forest, crops, and other vegetation.
ii.    Increased nitrogen emissions can lead to algal blooms which decrease oxygen concentrations in lakes.
III.    Three Big Ideas Accepted by the Group
a.    Decreased air quality is a prevalent problem in Birmingham and Jefferson County, and is negatively impacting the surrounding environment and human health.
b.    Birmingham is currently ranked number 5 on the American Lung Association’s list of most polluted cities with respect to year-round particle pollution.
c.    Environmental and human health are closely linked, and our human dependency on the environment remains, even as the environment is degraded.
Submitted by Aditi and Zac_1Dec09

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