Cross-Regional and Local Air Pollution Histories from Sediments of Small Urban Ponds in the Lower Mersey Region, UK.

Power, Ann (2011) Cross-Regional and Local Air Pollution Histories from Sediments of Small Urban Ponds in the Lower Mersey Region, UK. Doctoral thesis, Edge Hill University.

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Retrospective urban air quality assessments are imperative in understanding human health effects of long-term (lifetime) exposures to pollution; however, historical pollution data are limited. Therefore, air pollution records captured in the sediments of small urban ponds, sedimentary archives sensitive to localised urban activity, have been explored within the lower Mersey Region (LMR), a heavily industrialised area with poor health amongst the population. Proxy pollution profiles derived from isotope chronologies and magnetic, trace metal, flyash and geochemical properties of sediments from four small urban ponds have yielded high-resolution air pollution histories (<300 years). These site specific air pollution signals reveal air quality impacts of localised urban development and demonstrate the integrity of sediment records from urban ponds. A cross-regional air pollution history, reconstructed using these local contamination signals, details spatial variations in pollution deposition across the LMR, spanning pre-industrial times to present day. Low -pre-1830 pollution levels reflect a time of pre-intensified industry in the LMR with post-1830 increases signifying the Industrial Revolution and establishment of the early chemical industry. Distinct pollution enhancement from -1900 to 1950 is attributed to population increases, industrial diversification and war-time demands on industry, pre-Clean Air Acts (1959). A complex cross-regional post-1950 signal reveals intra-urban variations reflecting urban expansions within the region, with pollution reductions observed post-1970, due to increasingly stringent air quality legislations, however, pollution does not consistently decline throughout the LMR, potentially, due to air quality impacts from increased road and air travel. This high-resolution cross-regional urban air pollution signal provides an alternative to reliance upon background air pollution signals recorded by remote UK lakes. Furthermore, these ponds are set amongst populations most as risk to exposure of urban PM, and demonstrate important spatial variations in pollution characteristics, as well as revealing how air pollution has changed over time. These air pollution histories may, therefore, be used to better understand possible health linkages in the LMR.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environment; Pollution
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2014 11:42

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