ADEA3328: Geography of Environmental Disasters S2 2012-2013

Week 3 – Monday & Wednesday (09.00 AM, DKA)
Week 1&2
1. Process Events in Environmental Systems (Examples -Cyclones, Earthquakes, Floods,
Life Cycles of Organisms)
2. Process Events varies in Space (Energy & Matter inputs varies in Space, Other
Environmental Factors varies in Space)
3. Process Events varies in Time (Energy & Matter inputs varies in Time at a particular
locality)
4. Human Population increase approaching critical stage, impact of Process Events at a
Locality would be intense
5. Human Exploitation of Environmental Resources changes the behaviour of Natural
Process Events – Increases or decreases intensity & frequency of an event, new
process events & generation of wastes. Wastes are returned to the Environment
decomposes and produces environmental effects.
Week 3 (1&2)
Why is there a “relationship” between “Hazards”, “Risks” & “Disasters”?
1. Hazard = Situation in the environment that can be a “Threat” to Human Beings and
can be quantified / measured.
2. Risks = Threshold Values of Situation in the Environment (Hazard) that can have
impact on Human Comfort, Health, Life and Livelihood Activities. Risks can be
categorized base on levels of risks on Human Society.
3. Disaster = Human Health and Livelihood Activities are been compromised? And in
the general definition associated with many Loss of Lives, Destruction of Human
Systems and Disruption of Livelihood Activities.
Example: Malaysia’s Air Pollution Index
API
0-50
51-100
101-200
201-300
>300

STATUS
Good
Moderate
Unhealthy
Very Unhealthy
Hazardous

Risk
None
Very Low
Low
High
Very High

Potential Disaster
None
Very Low
Low
High
Very High

Example: Slope Angle - Slope Failure and Potential Impact on Human Habitation

Different Slope Materials have Different Angle of Repose (Potential for Movement)
Example – River Floods and Potential Impact on Human Habitations

Example – Source Areas of Ecological Threat and distance from Human Habitations
HRD relationships can be observed for the Environmental Subsystems, Atmosphere/Air (Air
Pollution), Hydrosphere/Water (Water Pollution), Lithosphere/Land (Land Pollution) &
Biosphere / Ecology (Pollen Pollution).
Question – Examine the Table below and discussed what are the relationship is for each
HRD?
Main SubSystems
Environment

Air

Hazard

Air Pollutants

Risk


Disaster

Amount &
Threshold
Range of
Threshold
Values
Events

Water

Water
Pollutants
 Amount &
Threshold
 Range of
Threshold
Values
Events

Land

Ecology

Land Pollutants

Ecological
Pollutants
 Amount &
Threshold
 Range of
Threshold
Values
Events


Amount &
Threshold
Range of
Threshold
Values
Events

How can HRDs be classified?
HRDs can be categorized in a number of ways (see Smith 1992 & Alexander 1993). HRDs
can be categorize into Natural or Human-Induced HRDs. HRDs can also be categorized
based on the occurrence within the different Environmental Subsystems – Atmosphere (Air),
Hydrosphere (Water), Lithosphere (Land) & Biosphere (Ecological).

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Hazards, Risks & Disasters in the Real World
Why are there Hazards, Risks and Disasters in the Environment?


Environmental Determinism (Environment Driven) – Human Activities on inherent
Environmental Process Regimes of an area.
Environmental Possibilism (Technology Driven) – Human Activities / Simple &
Complex Technology changes Environmental Process Regimes (&Wastes).
General Environmental Quality Degradation Model and Potential Threats
(Weathering Processes, Others?).

Assignment
Environment

Air

Water

Land

Ecology

Sub-Systems

Wind

River

Slope

Rats

Hazard

Risk

Disaster Event

References
1. Smith, K.1992. Environmental Hazards : Assessing Risks and Reducing Disaster
2. Alexander, D. 1993. Natural Disasters. UCL Press, London.
KOS ADEA3328 W3 (1&2) S2 2014-2015