Browsing by Subject "environmental risks"

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  • Kaikkonen, Laura; Helle, Inari; Kostamo, Kirsi; Kuikka, Sakari; Törnroos, Anna; Nygård, Henrik; Venesjärvi, Riikka; Uusitalo, Laura (American Chemical Society, 2021)
    Environmental Science & Technology 55: 13, 8502-8513
    Seabed mining is approaching the commercial mining phase across the world’s oceans. This rapid industrialization of seabed resource use is introducing new pressures to marine environments. The environmental impacts of such pressures should be carefully evaluated prior to permitting new activities, yet observational data is mostly missing. Here, we examine the environmental risks of seabed mining using a causal, probabilistic network approach. Drawing on a series of interviews with a multidisciplinary group of experts, we outline the cause-effect pathways related to seabed mining activities to inform quantitative risk assessments. The approach consists of (1) iterative model building with experts to identify the causal connections between seabed mining activities and the affected ecosystem components, and (2) quantitative probabilistic modelling to provide estimates of mortality of benthic fauna in the Baltic Sea. The model is used to evaluate alternative mining scenarios, offering a quantitative means to highlight the uncertainties around the impacts of mining. We further outline requirements for operationalizing quantitative risk assessments, highlighting the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach to risk identification. The model can be used to support permitting processes by providing a more comprehensive description of the potential environmental impacts of seabed resource use, allowing iterative updating of the model as new information becomes available.
  • Maack, Gerd; Äystö, Lauri; Carere, Mario; Clausen, Henning; James, Alice; Junghans, Marion; Junttila, Ville; Hollender, Juliane; Marinov, Dimitar; Stroomberg, Gerard; Triebskorn, Rita; Verbruggen, Eric; Lettieri, Teresa (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022)
    Environmental Sciences Europe
    Leverett et al. commented on the Environmental quality standard (EQS) for diclofenac derived under the European Water Framework Directive [Leverett et al. (2021) Environ Sci Eur 33: 133]. They postulated that the derivation of the EQS value for diclofenac is not conducted according to the EQS Technical Guidance, but rather using data of poor reliability and relevance. Consequently, the authors suggested using their alternative derived value instead. It is to be noted that the process for the EQS derivation for diclofenac is still ongoing and not finalized, and that as a consequence, any critical analysis is very premature. In general, within the current European Commission process, EQS values proposals are derived by expert groups led by the Joint Research Centre. In the specific case for diclofenac, Leverett et al. have also been actively involved as experts. This response to Leverett et al. (2021) aims to clarify the reasoning behind the proposal from a scientific point of view and to express our concern for the lack of transparency of their position in the statement of competing interests. Indeed, the authors did not disclose their participation in the expert group for deriving the diclofenac EQS value, nor that they have direct and indirect ties to a company that markets diclofenac in Europe, Glaxo Smith & Kline plc (GSK). This amounts to a significant conflict of interest and leads to disinformation to the reader.
  • Silvo, Kimmo; Jouttijärvi, Timo; Nystén, Taina; Kauppi, Sari; Kontula, Tytti; Oinonen, Kari; Jantunen, Jorma; Hellsten, Seppo; Krogerus, Kirsti; Leppänen, Matti; Lehtoranta, Jouni (Finnish Environment Institute, 2019)
    SYKE Policy Brief 28.8.2019
  • Setälä, Outi; Fjäder, Päivi; Hakala, Olli; Kautto, Petrus; Lehtiniemi, Maiju; Raitanen, Elina; Sillanpää, Markus; Talvitie, Julia; Äystö, Lauri (Finnish Environment Institute, 2017)
    SYKE Policy Brief
  • Tikka, Tia Sara Karoliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Arktinen alue on suuri ja se koostuu ominaisuuksiltaan erilaisesta merestä, sekä sitä ympäröivästä maasta. Arktinen alue toimii kotina monille, ja se tuottaa elintärkeitä ekosysteemipalveluita niin paikallisille, kuin muillekin kansoille. Merenkulku on tärkeä osa Arktisen alueen toimintaa ja tänä päivänä suurin osa merenkulusta kohdistuu joko Arktiselle alueelle tai sieltä poispäin ja kauttakulkuliikennettä on toistaiseksi vain vähän. Tulevaisuudessa voimme kuitenkin odottaa merenkäynnin volyymin kasvavan, tuoden mukanaan erilaisia laivoja, eri määränpäillä ja eri tarkoitusperillä. Volyymin kasvu riippuu merenkulun osalta monesta seikasta, mutta näitä vahvistaa kuitenkin tavanomaisten reittien ruuhkautuminen, sekä ilmastonmuutoksen mukanaan tuomat vaikutukset, kuten jääpeitteen pieneneminen. Tutkielma suoritettiin laadullisena tutkimuksena, jossa perustan loi kattava kirjallisuuskatsaus. Pääasiallisena tiedonkeruutapana olivat kuitenkin haastattelut, joiden pohjana kirjallisuuskatsaus toimi. Haastatteluissa haastateltiin eri merenkulun asiantuntijoita, jotka toivat omaa osaamistaan esille erillisten teemojen kautta. Haastattelujen tuloksen analysoitiin laadullisen tutkimuksen menetelmin, käyttämällä siihen tarkoitettua ohjelmistoa. Niin haastatteluista, kuin kirjallisuuskatsauksestakin nousi esille paljon samoja ongelmia ja havaintoja. Työ keskittyi erityisesti vakuutuksiin ja siihen, kuinka vakuutuksilla voidaan ohjata ja hallita riskejä Arktisessa merenkäynnissä. Tutkielman pääasiallisena tuloksena nousi esille, että siinä missä vakuutussektori toimii hyvin riskin välittäjänä, niitä ei kuitenkaan käytetä tehokkaasti riskien hillintään. Vakuutussektorin nähtiin toimivan kuitenkin yleisellä tasolla hyvin ja tarkoituksenmukaisesti. Suurin ongelmatiikka tuli esille tietoon liittyen. Tietoa koettiin olevan liian vähän ja sitä on vaikea saada. Myös regulaatioiden merkitys korostui haastatteluissa ja sitä toivottiin lisättäväksi Arktiseen merenkulkuun liittyvissä asioissa.
  • Quesada, Florencia (2022)
    Living in the city's ravines is the common destiny of thousands of poor urban dwellers in Guatemala City, as is too often the case elsewhere in the Global South. The ravines surrounding the city represent one of the most visible and unjust urban spaces in the nation's capital. At the same time, Guatemala City has been among the most violent cities in the world and is highly vulnerable to climate change. Employing a critical spatial perspective and drawing on interviews in two at-risk communities-Arzu and 5 de Noviembre-this article examines the social production of such peripheral spaces. The levels of exclusion and inequalities are analysed by focusing on the multiple manifestations (visible and invisible) of violence and environmental risks, and deciphering the complex dynamics of both issues, which in turn generate more unequal and harmful conditions for residents. This article draws on the theoretical ideas elaborated by Edward Soja, Mustafa Dikec, and Teresa Caldeira on the contextualisation of spatial injustice and peripheral urbanisation to study the specific conditions of urban life and analyse the collective struggles of people in both communities to improve their current living conditions and mitigate the risk and the precariousness of their existence. The article underlines the need to make the processes of urban exclusion and extreme inequality visible to better understand how they have been socially and politically constructed. The research argues for more socially and ecologically inclusive cities within the process of unequal urbanisation.
  • Reinikainen, Jussi; Perkola, Noora; Äystö, Lauri; Sorvari, Jaana (Elsevier BV, 2022)
    Science of The Total Environment
    Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) comprise a wide group of persistent chemicals, whose ubiquitous occurrence in the environment, particularly due to their extensive use for fire suppression in aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs), has raised global attention. We evaluated the impacts of PFAS at three firefighting training sites and one industrial site in Finland, to highlight key elements to be considered in the retrospective risk assessment of these chemicals. The site assessments covered the occurrence and distribution of 23 PFAS in multiple environmental matrices, i.e., soil, sediment, surface water, groundwater, and biota, and the subsequent risks to human health and the environment owing to the migration of and exposure to the selected compounds. Our study showed that the extensive use of nowadays restricted or substituted PFAS, particularly PFOS, are still often the predominant compounds detected at AFFF-impacted sites and will continue to cause long-term risks to the environment. The most significant environmental or health risks at these sites are likely to concern aquatic ecosystems, fish consumption or groundwater usage due to the off-site migration of PFAS. Here, even a single fire extinguishing event can be a considerable contributor. We also illustrate that conventional procedures based on simple mass-balance, and exposure models, with a focus on PFOS and other site-specifically relevant PFAS may provide sufficient means to assess the risks. Moreover, we address that despite the exceedance of the very stringent regulatory threshold values issued recently for PFAS, the actual site-specific risks to human health and the environment may remain reasonably low.