At the end of the 19th century, no one thought that there would be a problem of air pollution in Almaty. But, today air pollution is a serious problem for citizens of Almaty. According to World Health Organization recommendation, air pollution level in cities should not be higher than 10 mkg/m3 and the average daily level should not be higher than 25 mkg/m3 (WHO Air Quality Global update, 2005), whereas air pollution level in Almaty exceeds the norm by 4 times (Pavel Alexandrov’s research, November 2017).
That’s why I have decided on this topic. Air pollution affects lives of all citizens by aggravating their health -it’s the reason of high level of respiratory diseases, problems with blood and nervous system among Almaty’s citizens, that’s why it’s important to give this problem first priority.
To solve this ecological problem, we have to explore the origins and reasons behind its development.
My motivation is to highlight existing problem and increase awareness among citizens, that in future may lead to improving quality of air in Almaty.
Air pollution is a serious problem, that modern humanity has faced in the last three centuries. It’s a modern-day curse, that affects all living organisms and nature.
Air pollution occurs when harmful particles, for example, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and other volatile organic compounds, get into air due to increasing urbanization and industrialization from factories and other industrial places.
More than nine out of 10 of the world’s population – 92% – lives in places where air pollution exceeds safe limits, according to research from the World Health Organization (WHO, 2016).
That’s why there is no place in the world, that wasn’t affected by it.
Air pollution is a significant risk factor for a number of pollution-related diseases and health conditions, such as lung and stroke cancer, respiratory infections and heart disease. It may lead to increased need in therapy, medical help and even premature death.
That’s why this theme is so important for every person. We experience this problem every day and the situation is only worsening. Air pollution isn’t a new problem. It started in the UK in the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries, because of the active use of coal and industrialization.
Despite of the fact, that pollution exists for three centuries, humanity has only recently understood the importance of this global issue. Coalition for Clean Air, Sierra Club and Clean Air Task Force are on part of environmental organizations that are working to solve the problem of decreasing quality of the air.
As a citizen of Almaty, I have been forced to contend with air pollution since childhood. According to the statistics, half of the whole population of Almaty has different forms of respiratory diseases (research by Nailya Konurkulzhaeva, 2017). That’s why I want to explore different causes and reasons of catastrophic ecological situation in Almaty. In appendix A there is Almaty’s photo that shows thick layer of smog (smoke+ fog) and provides evidence of problems with air quality in our town.
This ecological condition appeared because of numerous factors, both anthropological (man-made) and natural. Key factor of pollution is Almaty’s location. The city is located in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains, that’s why there’s a lack of air flow that leads to air being trapped over the city. I will examine other factors, mainly anthropological, and the way they affect nature and the reasons of their development.
This assignment is based on a combination of primary and secondary research. I used primary research as a survey among students and teachers of Nazarbayev Intellectual School, to evaluate the level of awareness among citizens.
I will consider how people affected quality of air in Almaty because of the low awareness, that lead to change in fauna and flora and health problems among population.
The main aims for this project are as follows:
To begin with, I will research this topic by using qualitative and quantitative research. Be using qualitative research I will gain an understanding of underlying motivations, opinions and reasons of air pollution in Almaty. This type of research will provide me an insight into the problem, that will later help me in developing hypothesis for potential quantitative research.
Quantitative research, on its own, will help me to quantify the problem by collecting statistics, numerical data or data, that I will be able to transform into statistics. By using it, I will quantify citizens’ opinions, behaviors and attitudes toward ecological situation in Almaty.
The use of both types of sources (primary and secondary) will bring both reliable information from official and independent researches, and opinions and attitudes of ordinary citizens, which will prove statistics. It allows to clarify the information from one method by another.
Information for secondary research was mostly taken from sites, blogs and newspapers. The data about air pollution in Almaty was taken both from independent researches (Pavel Alexandrov, airkaz.org/almaty.php ) and newspapers (zakon.kz/118982-smog-almaty-nasha-privychnaja-realnost) to compare both points of view, their differences and similarities.
As a primary research I used survey. The survey included different kinds of questions, by which I gained opinions and level of knowledge among citizens of Almaty, NIS students especially.
Sample group was students of NIS, because we are the future specialists of Almaty and by analyzing this data and level of awareness among Almaty youth it will be possible to suggest path by which we could decrease level of air pollution in our city.
The survey was done by using Google Forms (https://www.google.com/intl/ru/forms/about/) It contained 10 questions. The questionnaire used both simple and complex questions to build a complete picture.
It was important for research to use both primary and secondary sources. The comparative analysis of Almaty citizens’ view on ecology was made possible by conducting the survey.
50 participants that live in Almaty have participated in this survey. They gave their opinions and answers connected to importance of ecology of the city and suggested the ways of solving problem of air pollution in Almaty. It helped to find out opinion of Almaty citizens about this ecological problem. My research questions were about their personal impact and the main factors of air pollution.
To find out the opinions of the Almaty citizens, I created a survey using Google Forms. This questionnaire was very useful for the research and my results can be seen in the graphs and tables.
Firstly, the effect of air pollution on the daily life was measured. 58% of all respondents agreed with statement and 32% remained neutral. Surprisingly, only 10% disagreed. This represents that our citizens know about air pollution in Almaty.
In the last question responders had to put different factors, that affect ecology, in order of importance. The most popular main factor, that influences air composition was industry (factories and etc.) – 25 responders have put it on the first place. Second most popular factor were cars (23 responders chose it as the most important) and overpopulation (22).
In this project I have been investigating the causes and influence of air pollution in Almaty.
There are a number of different opinions about reasons of change in air composition. Some people believe, that transform into an industrialization society and rise in factories level is one of the key factors, that led to the development of this particular ecological problem. At the same time, other Almaty citizens think that wrong city planning without considering air movement is the reason why air can’t blow out all polluting particles.
I have conducted a wide range of research info into air pollution in Almaty in the last three months. Having considered this carefully, I think that this ecological problem appeared due to group of different factors, both natural and anthropogenic. Research showed that our location in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau is the reason why air flows can’t blow out all smog above the city.
This opinion has formed according to evidence and data which clearly show the relationship between this factors and level of air pollution in the city. The growth in polluting particles’ concentration and increasing number of citizens with respiratory diseases helped to demonstrate that air pollution grows and affects our lives a lot.
However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t solve this ecological problem. It’s important to consider what will happen in the future. During the writing of my work, I have discovered different ways of eliminating our influence on air composition.
First of all, we have to develop internal combustion engine or replace it to decrease the amount of CO2 emissions, that cars produce, because cars remain one of the main factors of air pollution. For example, in 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air.
Secondly, City Administration of Almaty have to consider geographical location in city planning. Of course, they can’t replace all buildings, that disrupt airflow, but administration can control new projects to increase airflow.
In the end of this research, we can conclude that more needs to be done to raise awareness about the issue of air pollution in Almaty, particularly about how to eliminate human impact at an individual level. Awareness among younger people is increasing. This trend should be continued and could be enhanced through courses like Global Perspectives.
The research also shows that respondents are willing to take action to protect air condition.
After the research has been done, I had time to reflect on the weaknesses and strengths of it. In general, the research aims were successfully achieved and the answers on topic aims are well explained.
I think that the process was completed successfully as I did all the points on the criteria by making aims, step by steps. Primary information was obtained from survey questions and I did it with google forms. My aim was to take answers from about 50 people.
I asked 50 people, but in the future it would be better with large amount of responders- 27 of them were women, 23 of them were men. In this case, the survey is female biased, next time survey will include equal amount of females and males as they have dissimilarities between opinions.
Moreover, there was problem with responders’ age-the bias for age of respondents were between 15-25, because I asked most people from school. There were 35 responders of age between 15-25. As we know, teenagers are the biggest part of school population. So, the total amount of people between 26-35 was 6, 3 were between 36-45 and 6 were older than 45.
To sum up, I think that my survey methods were productive and valuable, but some parts need to be improved. In my project, I had opinions only of Almaty citizens. I think, it will be better to enlarge sample of responders and include people from different countries, that face the same problem as citizens of my city. This will make answers more diverse and objective.
I think it is great that my school gave me an opportunity to survey our international teachers, thanks to this my project covered more people with different points of view. Asking nationals and internationals could create difference of opinions between them, but answers were almost same-people understand value of air composition and want to attract more attention to this problem.
After finishing my project, I have realized my project could be developed and improved in future because my research was primarily qualitative and I had to pay more attention to measurable data, to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research. The outcomes of the conducted work push for further area of research.
As I suppose, more work could be contributed on research of origins of air pollution problem. Before this research, I thought that current problem exists only because of extensive car usage of citizens and wrong city planning. However, after research I understood, that numerous factors are the reasons of this problem, both natural, as city location and anthropogenic, as factories and overpopulation. Therefore, more research could be done in this sphere of discussion.
One more thing I would like to research further is ways to more sustainable life of Almaty citizens.
From my point of view, further research could help me and other people to consider the importance and reasons of air pollution in our city deeper and ascertain or change own perspective for the better.
Moreover, my topic area is expansive and can be researched deeper in the future. For instance, it would be better to make a bigger sample in order to cover all regions of Kazakhstan. In addition, it also could be a big advantage to ask people from other different countries, that has the same problem, for example, citizens of London, Moscow, Saint Petersburg or Novokuznetsk.
Secondly, more research could be done on the attitudes of older people. Understanding their viewpoints and encouraging them to take some action is an important part of the research.
The research has changed my own perspective. At first I believed that many people did not care enough about ecological situation in Almaty. However, the research has shown that many people, particularly young people, do care about the air pollution and they are willing to take actions. I hope that my project work will be valuable for further research.