"You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you."
- Vandana Shiva
A Baseline Characterization of Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Concentration and Releases in Nova Scotia, Canada
Three industrial facilities (a kraft pulp mill, a tire manufacturing, and a coal-fired power generation plant), have operated in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada for more than 50 years. The local population, including an Indigenous community, has raised concerns for several decades about the environmental and human health impacts of local air and effluent pollution. Numerous studies have reported negative air, water, sediment, and ecological and human health impacts in the region. However, previous studies mainly focused on wastewater effluent discharge from the kraft pulp mill, with only a few studies focused on air pollution. These limited air pollution studies pointed out the pulp mill as the primarily responsible for local emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), but with high levels of uncertainty. This study analyzed hourly and daily PM2.5 concentrations measured at an air quality monitoring station in Pictou (part of the National Air Pollution Surveillance [NAPS] network) between 2004 and 2021. For events of high PM2.5 concentrations (which occurred predominantly in April and May in 2014 and 2015), air masses were tracked using the HYSPLIT model to evaluate if long-range transboundary pollution could have contributed to PM2.5 concentrations. Results suggest that the pulp mill was likely the primary source of high PM2.5 concentrations recorded at the Pictou NAPS station. Measured PM2.5 concentrations only met the desirable air quality management concentrations after the pulp mill installed a recovery boiler electrostatic precipitator in October 2015 to reduce PM2.5 emissions.
I'm a professor in health promotion, a member of the Healthy Populations Institute, and flagship project co-lead, Creating Sustainable Health Systems in a Climate Crisis, at Dalhousie University. I work with a fantastic team of trainees and colleagues to explore the relationships between the quality of the environment and human health. The quality of the environment can be beneficial, like when we take time to immerse ourselves in nature; or, it can be detrimental such as when we are exposed to harmful contaminants.
My research is focused on measuring the characteristics of the environment, investigating how these characteristics affect our health, and experimenting with solutions and interventions toward a sustainable, healthy lifespan. If this type of work sounds interesting or even fascinating to you then please get in touch.
I'm always looking for enthusiastic and motivated individuals to join or support the team. Opportunities.