GIS-based Mapping and Statistical Analysis of Air Pollution and Mortality in Brisbane, Australia

Masters Thesis, Queensland University of Technology, April 2010

Khaled Al Koas

“In this thesis, the relationship between air pollution and human health has been investigated utilising Geographic Information System (GIS) as an analysis tool. The research focused on how vehicular air pollution affects human health. The main objective of this study was to analyse the spatial variability of pollutants, taking Brisbane City in Australia as a case study, by the identification of the areas of high concentration of air pollutants and their relationship with the numbers of death caused by air pollutants. A correlation test was performed to establish the relationship between air pollution, number of deaths from respiratory disease, and total distance travelled by road vehicles in Brisbane. GIS was utilized to investigate the spatial distribution of the air pollutants. The main finding of this research is the comparison between spatial and non-spatial analysis approaches, which indicated that correlation analysis and simple buffer analysis of GIS using the average levels of air pollutants from a single monitoring station or by group of few monitoring stations is a relatively simple method for assessing the health effects of air pollution. There was a significant positive correlation between variable under consideration, and the research shows a decreasing trend of concentration of nitrogen dioxide at the Eagle Farm and Springwood sites and an increasing trend at CBD site. Statistical analysis shows that there exists a positive relationship between the level of emission and number of deaths, though the impact is not uniform as certain sections of the population are more vulnerable to exposure. Further statistical tests found that the elderly people of over 75 years age and children between 0-15 years of age are the more vulnerable people exposed to air pollution. A non-spatial approach alone may be insufficient for an appropriate evaluation of the impact of air pollutant variables and their inter-relationships. It is important to evaluate the spatial features of air pollutants before modeling the air pollution-health relationships.”

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