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Global Environmental Health

8- Reduce the global burden of disease due to poor water quality, sanitation, and 29. personal and domestic hygiene. Target: 2,135,000 deaths. Baseline: 2,668,200 deaths worldwide were attributable to these factors in 1990. Target setting method: 20 percent improvement. Data source: Global Burden of Disease, World Health Organization. Improving access to clean water and sanitation has been cited as the single most effective means of alleviating human distress. Better water supply and sanitation may increase the average life expectancy in developing countries by 15 years. Furthermore, poor sanitation ranks as one of the highest contributing factors to the global burden of disease and injury. Diarrheal diseases, which kill nearly 3 million persons a year in developing countries, typically result from poor sanitation practices and the consumption of substandard drinking water. These diseases are mostly preventable by improving environmental services.[42], [43] 8- Increase the proportion of the population in the U.S.-Mexico border region that have 30. adequate drinking water and sanitation facilities. Target and baseline:
Objective Type of Drinking Water and Sanitation Service Wastewater sewer service provided Ciudad Acuna Matamoros Mexicali Nogales, Sonora Piedras Negras Reynosa Wastewater receiving treatment Ciudad Acuna Matamoros Mexicali Nogales, Sonora Piedras Negras Reynosa 1997 Baseline 2010 Target Percent of Population Receiving Water Service or Treatment 39 47 80 81 80 57 0 0 72 100 0 100 49 57 90 91 90 67 10 10 82 100 10 100

8-30a. 8-30b. 8-30c. 8-30d. 8-30e. 8-30f. 8-30g. 8-30h. 8-30i. 8-30j. 8-30k. 8-30l.

Target setting method: 10 percentage point improvement.

Data sources: EPA; Mexicos Comisin Nacional de Agua; State and local health departments; American Water Works Association; Rural Water Association; U.S.Mexican Border Health Association. Water pollution is one of the principal environmental and public health problems facing the U.S.-Mexico border area. Deficiencies in the treatment of wastewater, the disposal of untreated sewage, and inadequate operation and maintenance of treatment plants result in health risks.8, [44] Better environmental services such as sewer service, wastewater treatment service, and safe drinking water may help achieve a balance among social and economic factors and protecting the environment in border communities and natural areas.

Related Objectives From Other Focus Areas


1 Access to Quality Health Services . 1-7. Core competencies in health provider training 1- Single toll-free number for poison control 12. centers 3 Cancer . 3-1. Overall cancer deaths 3-2. Lung cancer deaths 3-8. Melanoma deaths 3-9. Sun exposure and skin cancer 3- Provider counseling about cancer 10. prevention 3- Statewide cancer registries 14. 4 Chronic Kidney Disease . 4- End-stage renal 1. disease 6 Disability and Secondary Conditions . 6- Environmental barriers affecting participation in 12. activities 7 Educational and Community-Based Programs . 7-2. School health education 7- Community health promotion 10. programs 10 Food Safety . 10- Foodborne Infections 1. 10- Outbreaks of foodborne 2. infections 10- Consumer food safety practices 5. 11 Health Communication . 11- Households with Internet access 1. 11- Health literacy 2. 11- Quality of Internet health information

4. sources 12 Heart Disease and Stroke . 12- Coronary heart disease (CHD) 1. deaths 14 Immunization and Infectious Diseases . 14- Active surveillance for vaccine 31. safety 15 Injury and Violence Prevention . 15-7. Nonfatal poisonings 15-8. Deaths from poisoning 15- Emergency department surveillance 10. systems 15- Hospital discharge surveillance systems 11. 15- Emergency department visits 12. 15- Deaths from unintentional injuries 13. 15- Nonfatal unintentional injuries 14. 16 Maternal, Infant, and Child Health . 16- Low birth weight and very low birth 10. weight 16- Preterm births 11. 16- Developmental disabilities 14. 20 Occupational Safety and Health . 20- Work-related injury deaths 1. 20- Work-related injuries 2. 20- Elevated blood lead levels from work 7. exposure 20- Occupational skin diseases or disorders 8. 22 Physical Activity and Fitness . 22- Community walking 14.

22- Community 15. bicycling 23 Public Health Infrastructure . 23-1. Public health employee access to the Internet 23-2. Public access to information and surveillance data 23-3. Use of geocoding in health data systems 23-4. Data for all population groups 23-5. Data for Leading Health Indicators, Health Status Indicators, and Priority Data Needs at State, Tribal, and local levels 23-6. National tracking of Healthy People 2010 objectives 23-7. Timely release of data on objectives 23-8. Competencies for public health workers 23-9. Training in essential public health services 23- Continuing education and training by public health agencies 10. 23- Performance standards for essential public health services 11. 23- Health improvement plans 12. 23- Access to public health laboratory services 13. 23- Access to epidemiology services 14. 23- Model statutes related to essential public health services 15. 23- Data on public health expenditures 16. 23- Population-based prevention research 17. 24 Respiratory Diseases . 24- Deaths from asthma 1. 24- Hospitalizations for asthma 2. 24- Hospital emergency department visits for 3. asthma 24- Activity limitations 4. 24- School or work days lost 5. 24- Patient education 6. 24- Appropriate asthma care 7.

24- Surveillance systems 8. 27 Tobacco Use . 27-9. Exposure to tobacco smoke at home among children 27- Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke 10. 27- Smoke-free and tobacco-free schools 11. 27- Worksite smoking policies 12. 27- Smoke-free indoor air laws 13. 28 Vision and Hearing . 28- Hearing protection 16. 28- Noise-induced hearing loss in 17. children 28- Noise-induced hearing loss in adults 21.

Sun, wind and wave-powered: Europe unites to build renewable energy 'supergrid'

A flock of sheep grazes among sun-tracing photovoltaic panels installed at Solarpark in Rodenas, North Friesland. Photograph: Bert Bostelmann/Getty Images It would connect turbines off the wind-lashed north coast of Scotland with Germany's vast arrays of solar panels, and join the power of waves crashing on to the Belgian and Danish coasts with the hydro-electric dams nestled in Norway's fjords: Europe's first electricity grid dedicated to renewable power will become a political reality this month, as nine countries formally draw up plans to link their clean energy projects around the North Sea. The network, made up of thousands of kilometres of highly efficient undersea cables that could cost up to 30bn (26.5bn), would solve one of the biggest criticisms faced by renewable power that unpredictable weather means it is unreliable.

Green technology correspondent Alok Jha on the supergrid plans Link to this audio With a renewables supergrid, electricity can be supplied across the continent from wherever the wind is blowing, the sun is shining or the waves are crashing. Connected to Norway's many hydro-electric power stations, it could act as a giant 30GW battery for Europe's clean energy, storing electricity when demand is low and be a major step towards a continent-wide supergrid that could link into the vast potential of solar power farms in North Africa. By autumn, the nine governments involved Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland and the UK hope to have a plan to begin building a high-voltage direct current network within the next decade. It will be an important step in achieving the European Union's pledge that, by 2020, 20% of its energy will come from renewable sources. "We recognise that the North Sea has huge resources, we are exploiting those in the UK quite intensively at the moment," said the UK's energy and climate change minister, Lord Hunt. "But there are projects where it might make sense to join up with other countries, so this comes at a very good time for us." More than 100GW of offshore wind projects are under development in Europe, around 10% of the EU's electricity demand, and equivalent to about 100 large coal-fired plants. The surge in wind power means the continent's grid needs to be adapted, according to Justin Wilkes of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). An EWEA study last year outlined where these cables might be built and this is likely to be a starting point for the discussions by the nine countries.

Renewable energy is much more decentralised and is often built in inhospitable places, far from cities. A supergrid in the North Sea would enable a secure and reliable energy supply from renewables by balancing power across the continent. Norway's hydro plants equivalent to about 30 large coal-fired power stations could use excess power to pump water uphill, ready to let it rush down again, generating electricity, when demand is high. "The benefits of an offshore supergrid are not simply to allow offshore wind farms to connect; if you have additional capacity, which you will do within these lines, it will allow power trading between countries and that improves EU competitiveness," said Wilkes. The European Commission has also been studying proposals for a renewable-electricity grid in the North Sea. A working group in the EC's energy department, led by Georg Wilhelm Adamowitsch, will produce a plan by the end of 2010. He has warned that without additional transmission infrastructure, the EU will not be able to meet its ambitious targets. Hunt said the EC working group's findings would be fed into the ninecountry grid plan. The cost of a North Sea grid has not yet been calculated, but a study by Greenpeace in 2008 put the price of building a similar grid by 2025 at 15bn-20bn. This would provide more than 6,000km of cable around the region. The EWEA's 2009 study suggested the costs of connecting the proposed 100GW wind farms and building interconnectors, into which further wind and wave power farms could be plugged in future, would probably push the bill closer to 30bn. The technical, planning, legal and environmental issues will be discussed at the meeting of the nine this month. "The first thing we're aiming for is a common vision," said Hunt. "We will hopefully sign a memorandum of understanding in the autumn with ministers setting out what we're trying to do and how we plan to do it." All those involved also have an eye on the future, said Wilkes. "The North Sea grid would be the backbone of the future European electricity supergrid," he said. This supergrid, which has support from scientists at the commission's Institute for Energy (IE), and political backing from both the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Gordon Brown, would link huge solar farms in southern Europe producing electricity either through photovoltaic cells, or by concentrating the sun's heat to boil water and drive turbines with marine, geothermal and wind projects elsewhere on the continent. Scientists at the IE have estimated it would require the capture of just 0.3% of the light falling on the Sahara and the deserts of the Middle East to meet all Europe's energy needs. In this grid, electricity would be transmitted along high voltage direct current cables. These are more expensive than traditional alternating-current cables, but they lose less energy over long distances.

Hunt agreed that the European supergrid was a long-term dream, but one worth making a reality. The UK, like other countries, faced "huge challenges with our renewables targets," he said. "The 2020 target is just the beginning and then we've got to aim for 2050 with a decarbonised electricity supply so we need all the renewables we can get." A North Sea grid could link into grids proposed for a much larger German-led plan for renewables called the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII). This aims to provide 15% of Europe's electricity by 2050 or earlier via power lines stretching across desert and the Mediterranean. The plan was launched last November with partners including Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, and some of Germany's biggest engineering and power companies, including Siemens, E.ON, ABB and Deutsche Bank. DII is a $400bn (240bn) plan to use concentrated solar power (CSP) in southern Europe and northern Africa. This technology uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays on a fluid container, the super-heated liquid then drives turbines to generate electricity. The technology itself is nothing new CSP plants have been running in the United States for decades and Spain is building many but the scale of the DII project would be its biggest deployment ever

Melting Glaciers Nourishing Oceans With Ancient Carbon


December 30, 2009 Alaska's marine animals have an unexpected nutrient in their diets: ancient carbon from glacier melt, a new study says. Glaciers that naturally melt each summer along the Gulf of Alaska flush out huge amounts of organic material, made up mostly of dead microbes.

Those microbes had feasted on ancient carbon from boggy forests, which lined the Alaska coast between 2,500 to 7,000 years ago and were later trapped under glaciers. Once released via glacial melt, the dead microbes provide a tasty treat for living microbes, which are at the base of the marine food web, researchers say. (See map.) Previous studies had shown that carbon from living forests eventually makes its way into fish through the water cycle, so "fish are made out of the forest," said study leader Eran Hood, an environmental scientist at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. The new study reveals "the same kind of thingthe fish are probably made out of carbon from glaciers," Hood said. "This is a surprising thing we didn't know before." Glacial melt may even have a hand in maintaining Gulf of Alaska fisheries, some of the most productive in the country, he added. Giant Water Pump The Gulf of Alaska drainage basin is a giant water pump: It includes more than 10 percent of the mountain glaciers on Earth, and annual runoff from the region produces the second largest discharge of fresh water into the Pacific Ocean. Hood and colleagues analyzed organic matter in runoff from 11 coastal watersheds in 2008, during the annual peak of glacial melting. The team sampled streams running through watersheds with different amounts of glacial coverage. Watersheds with no glaciers at all would be expected to contain less meltwater, while those dominated by ice would be filled with glacial runoff. What they found is that streams fed by glacial melt had a surprising amount of easily digestible, or "bioavailable," carbon. In addition, the more glacially rich the water, the older the carbonup to 4,000 years old. Glacial melt is seasonalice builds up during the winter and sloughs off in the summer. But rising temperatures have set off a worldwide thaw of many glaciers and ice sheets, which collectively act as the second largest reservoir of Earth's fresh water, Hood said. If glaciers continue to disintegrate due to climate change, an initial bounty of carbon released into the oceans would be followed by the complete loss of a major source of nutrients, he said. Marine ecosystems are nourished by many sources other than glaciers, Hood added.

Ocean upwelling, for example, is a natural cycle in which cold water filled with nutrients rises from the seafloor, feeding surface life. But a sudden influx of fresh water from melting ice could also disrupt the ocean currents that drive upwelling. No Expiration Date The new study goes against a long-held belief that older carbon is less palatable to simple organisms, Hood added. For instance, in most of the world's water bodies, the older the carbon, the less easily microbes can digest it. "That's the stuff that's been worked overit's no good," Hood said. "But in our case the older it was, the more the microbes wanted to eat it." That's mainly because glacial carbon is made of dead microbes that have been essentially preserved in ice. The dead microbes contain more easily digestible nitrogen and not much lignin, a plant compound that's tough for microbes to break down. Overall, the contribution of glaciers to the productivity of rivers and oceans is "greatly underappreciated," the study authors write. "It's good to understand the uniqueness of glacier ecosystems and the important role that they play as a source of water and nutrients," Hood added.