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A Pilot Web-based System for Environmental Health Impact Assessment of Air Pollution

Marius Daniel BONTOŞ
University Politehnica of Bucharest
Splaiul Independenţei 313, Bucharest, 060042, ROMANIA

University Politehnica of Bucharest
Splaiul Independenţei 313, Bucharest, 060042, ROMANIA


This paper presents an on-line pilot system for environmental health impact assessment of air pollution with the support of georeferenced relational databases collection for disseminating information to a wide range of users with the view to enabling them to make appropriate decisions. This tool integrates modern technologies for processing, computing, and information dissemination such as automatic acquisition, web crawling, relational databases and Geographic Information System (GIS).


Automatic web data acquisition, relational databases, health impact assessment, Geographic Information System (GIS), database driven website.

>>Full text
Marius Daniel BONTOŞ, Daniela VASILIU, A Pilot Web-based System for Environmental Health Impact Assessment of Air Pollution, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 21 (2), pp. 127-136, 2012.

1. Introduction

The quality of the environment is the result of interaction of natural elements – earth, air, water, climate, biosphere and elements resulting from human activity. In turn, the environment influences the conditions of existence of society, its development possibilities and the quality of human life. Consequently, environmental and environmental health protection is a public priority in Romania and on a global scale as well, aiming to achieve a clean and healthy environment and preserving natural resources, in accordance with the requirements of sustainable economic and social development.

Achieving these goals requires better education and awareness amid global informatization of the society (WHO, 2011; EHJ, 2011).

Several studies (Ezzati, 2004; WHO, 2009) made on the impact of environmental pollutants on health have been performed. These show that about 25-30% of all diseases in industrialized countries are attributed to environmental factors. They mainly affect the children (in their case the proportion of environmental mortality being 37% for 0-4 years-group and 36% for 0-14 years (WHO, 2006) and vulnerable groups like poor population and future mothers. This percentage is likely to have an upward trend if nothing is done to reduce environmental pressures on human health.

Information technologies are now the support of all components for basic and applied scientific research in environmental protection. They are utilized for the numerical simulation of complex processes, for monitoring and controlling the experiments, as well as in all applications for processing and transmitting specific information. (Vasiliu, 2007). At the same time data mining technology enable finding useful information within immense amounts of data (Peng et al, 2008).

At the same time decision support systems (DSS) are meant to help the managers, planners and others knowledge workers to evaluate the complex situations with the view to choosing the most adequate causes of action in various application domains (Filip, 2008, 2002). In the case of complex application systems, the process of designing and building information system can be viewed as a series of decision making activities (Filip, 2011).

In this respect, the main objective of this paper is to present IISEH (“Integrated Information System for Environment and Health”), an on-line pilot system meant for the environmental health impact assessment of air pollution with the support of geo-referenced relational databases collection for disseminating information to a wide range of users. This tool aims to provide timely and adequate high quality data and knowledge in order to inform the public and support decision making in environmental and public health at national, regional and local level.

For applications with multiple and diverse sources for large amounts of data, like the purposed one, there are on the market products like “Data Warehouse / Business Intelligence”. Their disadvantage is the high cost and functional opacity. In addition, a solution made directly from the basic components can take advantage not only of a low cost but also of a good adaptation of the application.

This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents the architecture of the proposed environmental health impact evaluation system. Each component is presented in the following sections. Section 3 describes the data acquisition module with its two components: meteorological data acquisition based on ADCON system (ADCON, 2011) and pollution data acquisition with web crawling / web spidering technology. Section 4 refers to the design, creation and management of specific environment and health databases required for system implementation. Section 5 presents the health impact assessment of air pollution module and the case study. Section 6 presents the implementation of GIS technology for study areas selection and for the creation of thematic maps.

Section 7 describes the integration of all aspects above mentioned on a common web platform which aims at disseminating the information collected and also of the calculated indicators in an accessible format. Last section concludes the paper.


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